ICE Scotland has said the repair and maintenance of existing infrastructure is the best opportunity for quick economic stimulus.
The call was made in a paper entitled: ‘Building Scotland’s Future: Infrastructure for a Post-Pandemic Landscape,’ which was submitted to the Scottish government’s advisory group on Economic Recovery.
That group has been tasked with recommending solutions to address different challenges the economy will face as Scotland recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. It made its first report on 22 June, which the Scottish government is now considering.
ICE Scotland director Hannah Smith said: “Scotland’s infrastructure is worth billions of pounds, but historic under-investment means portions of it are deteriorating and failing to realise their full benefit to the economy. Declaring maintenance a National Infrastructure Priority could see this trend reversed and offer a low-risk approach to kick-starting economic growth.”
ICE Scotland also wants the Scottish government to drive forward the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ and barriers to industry removed.
Smith continued: “We have an opportunity to transform civil society, governance, economics and manufacturing through embracing new technologies and principles. To fully embrace this revolution, Scottish government must deliver a post-Covid landscape which is green, digital and inclusive. That will require thinking about infrastructure as a system and creating new finance models.
“The Scottish government must also urgently work with industry to, for example, implement a flexible approach on working hours, help small contractors with their procurement and support the supply chain.”
Jim Young, chair of ICE Scotland’s public voice committee, said: “Decisive action on the necessary infrastructure investment, combined with careful stewardship of our infrastructure landscape and joint working between industry and government is vital.”