Following consultation in autumn of last year, the Scottish Government has now officially published its finalised Infrastructure Investment Plan for the next 5 fiscal years ("IIP"). The IIP sets out the investments in infrastructure that the Scottish Government will support either itself or through its agencies. The definition of infrastructure within the plan is broad – including digital, social and, for the first time, natural infrastructure.

For the first time, the report has been published alongside the Capital Spending Review for the same fiscal period, allowing it to tie the IIP in with the government's financial planning. This year's IIP sets out £26 billion of Scottish Government investment to be spent over the next parliamentary term, with spending falling under three strategic themes: sustainability and a net zero economy; driving inclusive economic growth; and building resilient and sustainable places.

Below, we set out the key themes and related expenditure that the IIP covers.

1. COVID-19

      Unsurprisingly, interwoven with the three key themes is a significant focus on Covid-19 and the post-pandemic recovery. Through the Economic Recovery Implementation Plan, the Scottish Government plan to use capital investment to support around 45,000 construction and maintenance jobs, with a particular focus on green jobs.

      Covid has also put issues with digital connectivity into sharp focus, particularly in rural and remote areas of Scotland. As a result, through significant capital investment in digital services - for example, Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband - the Scottish Government hopes to better support home-working.

      Finally, there is £550m investment in active travel (cycling and walking), to free up space on public transport for those who most need it. This will translate into adaptations to roads, such as widening pavement space - some of which we have already seen in our major cities.

      2. A net zero and sustainable economy

        Given the Scottish Government's net zero targets, it is again unsurprising that a sustainable economy is a central focus of the IIP. The IIP also looks to address how climate change is likely to impact Scottish infrastructure, and how this can be addressed through adaptation and investment. Investment here includes:

        • £180 million for an Emerging Energy Technologies Fund to support carbon capture and storage, negative emissions technologies and hydrogen development;
        • £150m extra funding for flood risk management;
        • £120m in transition to net zero electric buses;
        • £1.6 billion over 5 years to decarbonise heat in buildings;
        • £1.2 billion to enhance Scotland's railways.

        A key strategy here is the adoption of an "Investment Hierarchy". This initiative essentially favours the improvement and repurposing of existing assets over the creation of new ones. There will also be an increased spend on maintenance to ensure the longevity of existing assets.

        3. Inclusive economic growth

        The Scottish Government is looking to improve the connectivity of the various regions of Scotland investing in transport infrastructure, including by doubling its investment in bridge and roads maintenance to around £1.5 billion.

        It also hopes to benefit industry and tourism in rural and remote regions by investing £220 million in agricultural support and £30 million in delivering a National Islands Plan, which includes ring-fenced funding for green capital projects on the islands.

        4. Resilient and sustainable places

          The biggest individual spend in the IIP falls under this category: over £3.3 billion allocated to deliver more affordable and social homes, which is the biggest investment in affordable housing in Scotland since devolution.

          There is also a major focus on healthcare here, with health maintenance investment alone totalling £1 billion. Schools will also see significant investment, with £2 billion allocated to the Learning Estate Investment Programme, which will fund the build of 36 new schools by the end of its second phase, many of which are likely to be procured through the Scotland wide hub programme for delivering community facilities.

          The full version of the IIP can be found here: and the Capital Spending Review here:


          Lucy McCracken

          Trainee Solicitor