by Duncan Maclennan and Iain Docherty
If growth is the objective, then the assessment of major infrastructure projects has to articulate growth impacts even if they are difficult to measure.
Defining infrastructure much more broadly than 'public goods' to be spatially fixed capital investment addresses the need to set demand and supply in place, links to local and wider network questions, and highlights what other public assets and services might be needed to effect change in place.
Large firms play key roles as construction sector leaders and attractors of business for the smaller supply chain participants. A focus on small and Scottish-owned firms would fail to capture the 'ecology' of how the sector works.
Reflecting nimble fiscal management within Scottish Government, public construction rose by 53pc with the (narrowly defined) new public infrastructure sector growing by 35pc between 2008 and 2014 (and totalling £3.8 billion in 2014).
The Scottish Government would be well advised to undertake and publish a detailed ex post evaluation of the economic impacts of the major projects involved in the 2011-15 stabilisation programme in order to plan for maximum gains to the domestic economy from the next round of investment.
An Infrastructure Scotland, that brings together all of the main demand sectors of interest, together with the major utilities, the main supply side capacities of construction firms, the financial sector and training institutions, could provide long-term, practice-based insight for Ministers and policymakers.
For the full chapter, please see: Maclennan, D. & Docherty, I. (2017) Infrastructure and the Scottish Economy. In Gibb, K., Maclennan, D., McNulty, K., & Comerford, M. (eds) Scottish Economy - A Living Book. London: Routledge. Available via this link.
Figure 17.5: Regional Construction Employment Forecasts to 2020
- Table comes from the CITB's Industry Insights (Construction Skills Network) for Scotland, 2016
Figure 17.6: Forecast Growth in Construction Output by Sector
Table comes from the CITB's Industry Insights (Construction Skills Network) for Scotland, 2016