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Scottish draft budget pledges £150m

The Scottish draft budget for 2013-14 has pledged a £40m boost to affordable housing, £80m for the Schools for the Future programme and £30m over three years in a green investment package.

Presenting the package to the Scottish parliament in Edinburgh, SNP Scottish finance secretary John Swinney said: “To support the construction industry and inject growth into the economy we will provide an immediate stimulus to the construction industry of £40m through investment in affordable housing.

“To further assist the construction sector we will increase the number of schools being built from 55 to 67, bringing forward £80m of investment.”

Mr Swinney also pledged a green investment package of £30m over three years to help homeowners improve energy efficiency and invest in low-carbon transport.

He also pledged to establish a renewable energy investment fund.

The Scottish Building Federation welcomed the plans for affordable housing.

But it urged Westminster to reverse cuts to Scotland’s capital budget and called on the Scottish government to prioritise energy efficiency, apprenticeships and procurement reforms.

SBF CEO Michael Levack said the budget was “recognition of the tough times the Scottish construction industry is currently facing”.

“Despite Mr Swinney’s efforts, Scotland still faces a cut in capital investment of around £5.5 billion or 24 per cent over the period 2009/10 to 2014/15,” said Mr Levack.

“The UK government must do more to rectify this situation and demonstrate its own commitment to stimulating economic recovery.”

Mr Levack said the energy efficiency money, while welcome, will only fund “a small fraction” of the retrofit bill, and said there was a “worrying lack of urgency” in the procurement reform plans.

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