The Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) published its 2012/13 Business Plan on 30 March, outlining ambitious targets for the coming year in relation to public sector infrastructure investment. The Business Plan builds upon SFT’s significant achievements over the past 12 months, which include:
- Over 600 affordable homes for rent being built through the National Housing Trust (NHT) initiative with the first tenants already moved in
- Major infrastructure projects to the value of £360m now in procurement through the Non-Profit Distributing (NPD) programme
- The first school completed and open in the Scotland’s Schools for the Future programme; a further eight being built and increasing the total number of schools to be built within the existing budget by 12, rising from 55 to 67
- Reviewing public sector building management and developing plans to achieve asset management savings of c.£500m
- The first hub building open with four more under construction
- Adding four more Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) pilots to the three already progressing
One important element of SFT’s work is to focus on attracting and delivering additional investment into infrastructure projects over and above limited capital budgets. This is vital for economic recovery and to help sustain jobs in the construction industry. As a result of SFT pursuing alternative financing sources allows projects to be brought forward now, rather than have them delayed for years for budgets to become available. SFT has increased its efforts in this area and is now leading a programme of additional infrastructure investment through NPD, TIF and NHT across Scotland, valued at over £3bn.
In the year ahead, the emphasis of SFT will be to:
- Achieve over £1.2bn of NPD projects under procurement, including the Edinburgh Royal Hospital for Sick Children, and motorway improvements to the M8/M73/M74
- Secure approval for all seven TIF pilot projects thereby unlocking £2.5bn of private sector investment
- Have completed a new street lighting energy efficiency and upgrade feasibility study
- Assess further funding models to build more affordable homes for rent
- Secure sustainable financing for NPD projects, to include structuring for participation by institutional investors such as pension funds
- Have all five hub territories operational, delivering high quality, value-for-money buildings for the benefit of local communities
- Have a further ten schools under construction and manage the programme of additional schools under phase 3 of the Scotland’s Schools for the Future programme
Sir Angus Grossart, chairman of the Scottish Futures Trust, stated: “SFT has come a long way in the short period in which we have been operational and has quickly become a material force across Scotland, working commercially to deliver increased value on public sector infrastructure for the benefit of Scotland’s taxpayers.
“Central to SFT’s progress has been the strong strategic alliances it has established with local authorities, health boards and other public bodies across Scotland to leverage additional investment which helps deliver value-for-money on public sector construction projects.
“At the heart of SFT is improving value-for-money, developing innovative ways to finance future infrastructure for example though pension funds, and delivering high-quality sustainable infrastructure across Scotland.”
Barry White, chief executive of the Scottish Futures Trust, explained: “We have set out our stall for the next 12 months and believe achieving our goals will be of huge benefit to the whole of the construction industry across Scotland – hundreds of homes are to be built; work will start on ten new schools; a dozen or more new hub projects will be in the ground; over £1.2bn of NPD projects will be in procurement; work will have started on new waste treatment plants – cumulatively, these projects will help sustain thousands of construction jobs and be beneficial to communities the length and breadth of Scotland.
“By applying a ‘challenge role’ on all projects, SFT has encouraged public sector bodies to think about their ‘needs’ not their ‘wants’ so that available budgets are used fairly and wisely to deliver value and benefit.
“Over the coming year, NPD will come into its own when a number of large infrastructure projects will become live and be delivered through this innovative funding model. Scotland’s groundbreaking NPD, TIF and NHT programmes, reflects exceptionally well on a country that is taking a pioneering approach to public sector infrastructure investment.”