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£300m health and schools investment to go ahead in Scotland

£300m health and schools investment to go ahead in Scotland

The Scottish government has signed off on a raft of healthcare and education construction projects with a combined value of more than £300 million.The decisions were announced by finance minister and deputy first minister John Swinney in the wake of George Osborne’s recent Autumn Statement. The investment had previously been approved, but had been put on hold due to concerns about revised European accounting regulations.Following consultation, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has now confirmed that the projects can go ahead thanks to an innovative capital programme that will keep the spending off balance sheets.This means that the 12 projects will be carried out by special purpose companies that will be 60 per cent owned by the private sector partners.However, the ONS has confirmed that the £745m Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route must be designated as a public sector project, despite also being allocated through the Not for Profit Distribution Hub. This means that it will have to appear on the Scottish government’s balance sheet.Mr Swinney explained: "The Scottish government has always prioritised public infrastructure projects as a critical tool for growing our economic recovery."I am therefore delighted to be able to confirm that the ten school and two health centre projects within the Hub programme will now proceed. That is around £330 million of capital investment in our children's education, our NHS and Scotland's economy."These 12 projects will make an enormous difference in their communities, both in terms of the immediate boost provided by the jobs that their construction will bring, but also through the long term health and education benefits that these projects will provide to local communities and local people.”The projects include nine schools and academies across the country, as well as the Dalbeattie Learning Campus in Dumfries and Galloway. In terms of healthcare, there are two projects: the Lothian Health Centre bundle and the Inverclyde Care Home project.With the exception of the Inverclyde Care Home work (£8 million), each of the projects is worth £25 million or more, reflecting a significant opportunity for contractors who operate in Scotland. 

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