Almost half of all major infrastructure projects in Scotland delayed

Almost half of the Scottish Government’s major infrastructure projects have suffered delays, according to the latest figures.

Prisons, schools and health centres are among the projects to have been pushed back, with 25 out of 55 plans delayed.

The SNP Government has been criticised after the release of March’s Infrastructure Investment Plan data showing that flagship projects are now up to two years behind schedule.

New and updated prisons at HMP Glasgow and Greenock have been delayed by one and two years respectively, pushing their expected completion date back to 2024.

The redevelopment of Royal Edinburgh Hospital Campus is also delayed by more than a year and is not expected to be finished until 2022, according to the Scottish Government’s report.

Scottish Labour spokesman for transport, infrastructure and connectivity Colin Smyth said: “It’s not just the trains the SNP can’t run on the time – major infrastructure projects have been pushed back under this Government.

“Infrastructure investment should be what is powering our economy from the ground up, creating good quality direct jobs, further work in the supply chain and ultimately better public services.

“But under the SNP, projects are too often behind schedule and handed to companies who aren’t delivering good-quality work.

“Labour would ensure public contracts and major projects deliver best value for the taxpayer and a better deal for working people.”

Welcoming the release of the Infrastructure Investment Plan last Wednesday, Infrastructure Secretary Michael Matheson said that more than £1.4 billion was invested in infrastructure projects opened across Scotland in 2018-19.

Mr Matheson cited the V&A Museum in Dundee, electrification of 62 miles (100km) of single-track line from Dunblane through Stirling and Alloa, and 19 new schools as projects delivered in the last year.

New V and A Dundee museum
New V and A Dundee museum

He added: “Looking ahead, the Scottish Government’s £5 billion commitment to infrastructure investment in 2019-20 will support 50,000 affordable new homes, delivery of the extension of early learning and childcare, new roads and railways, electric vehicles and delivery of superfast broadband across Scotland.

“As part of this, our pipeline report shows Scottish Government-procured projects with a value of almost £3.1 billion are estimated to be in construction across Scotland during 2019-20.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We have a proven track record of successfully delivering major infrastructure projects, including major road improvements to the M8, M73 and M74, the Queensferry Crossing, which came in £245 million under budget, and the new Dumfries and Galloway Royal infirmary.

“While it’s not uncommon to encounter challenges when delivering such a large number of ambitious projects of this size, scale and complexity, we have made excellent progress on our infrastructure plan, with further significant projects set to be completed this year.

“Our current infrastructure investment programme includes record investment in improving road and rail infrastructure, which is creating jobs, helping businesses, and supporting sustainable economic growth across Scotland.”