In her 2018/19 Programme for Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has promised £7,000,000,000 worth of investment into new building projects throughout the country.
Through a combination of borrowing and collaborating with the private sector to provide the huge amount of money, the government plans to invest in a wide array of projects, ranging from the rebuilding of run-down schools and hospitals to building new residential properties.
The investment appears to have two key aims. Firstly, it is hoped that it will provide jobs in Scotland’s construction sector, which has been struggling throughout the year. According to the BBC, construction output was down 9.2% in the first quarter of 2018, when compared to the same quarter of 2017. However, the hot summer weather allowed more building projects to begin in the second quarter of the year, so this large investment should be seen as an opportunity to build on and secure that growth.
It is also an opportunity for the government to address the nation’s housing crisis, by providing more social housing for struggling individuals and families, who face high rents and unattainable mortgages in the private market. A great deal of the £7bn figure will be spent on the building of 50,000 affordable homes, with at least 35,000 being allocated to housing associations and local authorities as social housing. It is hoped that this will ease Scotland’s homelessness crisis, and go some way to helping the 34,972 people who made homelessness applications in 2017-18.
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