Manufacturing Plan to boost Scotish economy

The Scottish GovernmentGovernment support to help Scotland’s manufacturers innovate and expand have been announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Manufacturing represents over half of Scotland’s international exports and of our investment in research and development, with nearly 190,000 people employed in the industry.

The funding, including £30 million from the European Regional Development Fund, will enable companies to capture new opportunities presented by a move to a more circular economy.

Supported by £70 million of investment, a new strategy for manufacturing – A Manufacturing Future for Scotland – outlines how government will work with industry and with higher and further education institutions to stimulate innovation, improve productivity and increase investment in Scottish manufacturing.

This includes a Circular Economy Investment Fund to help manufacturers develop innovative technologies, business models and infrastructure, from the proof of concept stage through to implementation.

It will also introduce a new Circular Economy Service, offering development support to businesses seeking to redesign their processes and products.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Scotland has a long and proud manufacturing heritage and manufacturing must also be a key driver of our future prosperity.

While manufacturing has undergone a significant transformation in recent decades, with increased globalisation and greater use of digital technology, it remains a high skills and high wage sector, with earnings that are above the Scottish average.”

£20m expansion plan for Aberdeen Airport

£20m expansion plan for Aberdeen AirportFirst Minister Nicola Sturgeon has unveil a £20 million investment for the expansion of Aberdeen International Airport.

The development will result in a 50% increase in the size of the terminal building and with it, a comprehensive transformation of current passenger facilities.

The first phase of what will be a three year project will get underway in May 2016. This will involve the construction of a two-storey extension to the south of the existing terminal building.

At ground level, the extension will accommodate all facilities for international arriving passengers as well as domestic baggage reclaim. Two business lounges will be located on the upper level.

Carol Benzie, Managing Director of Aberdeen International Airport, said: “We have long recognised the need to expand the terminal and we are doing so with the long term future of the airport in mind. It is one of the most important pieces of transport infrastructure in the North East of Scotland and it plays a crucial role in supporting the wider economy.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “This investment by Aberdeen International Airport and its owners shows great ambition and confidence in the Airport’s future in preparing for projected growth. By increasing capacity and improving the passenger experience, the Airport is making a clear statement of intent and the North East and Scotland will see the benefit.

Aberdeen is a fantastic city with lots to offer and the airport is a crucial gateway to the North East. This expansion opens up the city to even more tourists and businesses, which will result in an economic boost for the city and the country as a whole.”

Mark McDonald, MSP for Aberdeen Donside said: “This investment in Aberdeen Airport is another welcome boost to the local economy, following closely on the back of the City Region Deal.

I am delighted to see this investment and believe that it gives further reason to be optimistic for the future of the airport and the local economy.”

More financial help for home buyers

The Scottish GovernmentAn extra £40 million will be invested in a scheme that helps people get on the housing ladder, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed today to Homes for Scotland delegates.

The Scottish Government’s Help to Buy initiative has allowed more than 1,100 people to buy a new home since its launch in September 2013.

This latest financial boost brings the overall investment to £275 million – investment that has brought much needed financial support to the Scottish construction sector.

The scheme helps people to buy a new-build house from a participating home builder without having to fund all of the purchase price.

The buyer is required to contribute a five per cent deposit, with the Scottish Government taking an equity stake of up to 20 per cent of the value of the property.

New Homes for Scotland Chair Sandy Adam said: “A significant proportion of new homes are now sold through Help to Buy, delivering on the Scottish Government’s key objectives of providing more homes, creating more jobs and stimulating the economy.

“Additional investment, such as that announced today, and longer term support assisting developers with investment planning will help the industry to, quite literally, build on the scheme’s initial success and step up production to the levels required to meet housing need across all tenures.

“But this welcome boost for Help to Buy (Scotland) is valuable in another way. Many people in Scotland want to own their own home. Raising aspiration and confidence in this way can only be achieved through initiatives such as this.”

Ms Sturgeon said: “It is also bringing much needed economic growth to Scotland by supporting our housing industry and creating employment opportunities.

“This is alongside our continued commitment to investing in affordable housing for communities across Scotland.”

Australian engineering firm creates new jobs in Scotland

Australian engineering firm creates new jobs in ScotlandNicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister, today announced the creation of 110 new jobs by a global oil and gas contractor, Clough in Glasgow.

The investment of £1.5 million Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) fund will enable the Australian engineering contractor to service the energy, chemical, mining and mineral markets across Scotland while boosting economic growth and the trades industry.

Ms Sturgeon said: “This is yet another indication of the strong performance in the Scottish economy, which can only be enhanced by the powerful economic levers available to us through independence, which would be used to attract even more jobs and investment.

“This company has a long history of working across the globe and they have shown a commitment in investing in the workforce in Scotland. With their expansion to Scotland and in doing so creating 110 jobs which will support a boost to the local economy.

“This is a testament to the quality and skills of the local workforce. Scotland’s energy sector boasts strong engineering and manufacturing skills that are globally recognised across the oil and gas industry.”

Kevin Gallagher, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, said: “The opening of our operating centre in Scotland represents a key step in Clough’s international expansion strategy, and enables our world class engineering, project management, commissioning and operations and maintenance services to support new regions.

“Scotland was selected as the most attractive location for Clough due to its access to world class technical universities and highly experienced engineering resources, combined with its proximity to clients and opportunities in the North Sea, Europe, Middle East and Africa.

“Our Scottish centre will provide engineering support services to projects throughout this region as well as Australasia, helping to enhance value for clients across Clough’s extensive project portfolio.

“I’d like to acknowledge and thank Scottish Enterprise for their outstanding support in helping Clough establish a strong foundation for growth in the region”.

New £34m school gets the go-ahead

New £34m school gets the go-aheadConstruction work has started on the new James Gillespie’s High School in Edinburgh, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed this week.    

The new school will be built for the City of Edinburgh Council and is expected to create 250 construction jobs and boost the building trades.

Deputy First Minister Nicole Sturgeon said: “Investment in infrastructure projects such as the new James Gillespie’s High School, not only supports jobs and apprenticeships locally, but it also helps the wider Scottish economy.”

The project involves the demolition of the existing school buildings, the construction of a new teaching block and brand new sports and performance buildings on the campus.

The £34 million-school will be part funded by the Scottish Government’s £1.25 billion Scotland’s Schools for the Future programme and will house 104 staff and 1,150 pupils.

The Grade A-listed Bruntsfield House at the centre of the campus will also undergo a major refurbishment.

Ms Sturgeon said: “In Scotland we are building many new schools, and refurbishing still more to provide an excellent learning environment for staff and pupils.

“This project is part of the Scottish Government’s £1.25 billion ‘Scotland’s Schools for the Future’ programme which will see the construction of 67 new schools and the movement of 46,000 pupils into top quality accommodation.”

The school is due to be completed by summer 2016 and is expected to support modern apprenticeships and a host of work experience opportunities.

Go-ahead for £480m Falkirk Development

Go-ahead for £480m Falkirk Development

Final approval has been given for plans to unlock hundreds of millions of pounds of private investment to boost business across Falkirk and Grangemouth.

Falkirk Council’s £67 million Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) scheme is expected to pave the way for £413 million in private investment that will create around 6,000 new jobs.

Under TIF, councils fund infrastructure by borrowing against future business rate income that should be generated by the resulting regeneration and development.

The 25-year plan, over three phases across Falkirk and Grangemouth, includes improving M9 motorway links to established industrial areas and unlocking 400,000 square metres of business space.

Within the bid funding is earmarked to contribute to major flood defences to protect the port and refinery at Grangemouth.

The Scottish Futures Trust, set up by the Scottish Government to deliver value for money across public sector infrastructure, has spearheaded the development of the TIF model for use in Scotland.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “We will use every lever at our disposal, within our devolved powers, to boost capital spending and through innovative financing schemes such as TIF, support jobs, apprenticeships and help the Scottish economy.

“The Falkirk TIF will allow dozens of major construction developments across the area to unlock significant economic development and regeneration.

“It will allow Falkirk and Grangemouth to maintain and grow a number of industries and sectors that are important nationally such as petrochemicals, manufacturing and port activity against the backdrop of highly competitive global industries.”

Councillor Craig Martin, Leader of Falkirk Council said: “This investment signals a new chapter for Falkirk as it gears up to play a significant role in Scotland’s economic growth, export trade and jobs creation. Key infrastructure development will unlock more opportunities in our key sectors of chemicals, manufacturing and logistics, ensuring these high value, job-creating industries can thrive to benefit the whole of Scotland.”

Barry White, chief executive of the Scottish Futures Trust, said: “SFT continues to lead the way with the development of TIF across Scotland as an innovative way to unlock future economic growth, as every £1 invested by the public sector has the potential to attract a further £6 from the private sector.

“We have worked closely with Falkirk Council on finalising this agreement since recommending approval of its TIF Business Case and very much look forward to the positive impact that the investment will make to this region and adjacent areas.”