Posts tagged Nicola Sturgeon

Work to start on Inverness College

The Scottish Government

Construction work on the new £50 million Inverness College UHI is set to start next month, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed today.

The 13.3 acre University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) development will create 300 jobs during construction, a minimum of 28 modern apprenticeships and provide facilities for over 8,500 students.

Inverness is the first Further Education college to use the Non Profit Distributing (NPD) financing model with City of Glasgow and Kilmarnock colleges to follow later in the year.

NPD ensures that private sector returns are capped, that there is no dividend bearing equity, and any surplus is directed in favour of the public sector.

Other major projects in the £2.5 billion NPD pipeline include M8, M73 and M74 improvements, while construction work has already begun on community health buildings in Aberdeen, Forres and Tain.

Ms Sturgeon said: “The new £50 million Inverness College UHI will be a landmark building, the centrepiece in a high quality, modern and sustainable campus being developed on the outskirts of the city.

“This Government is determined to invest in Scotland’s infrastructure – our schools, roads and hospitals – both to stimulate growth in the short term and lay the foundations for long term success.

“That is good news for the Highland economy and its construction industry and will attract businesses and highly trained professionals to the Highlands to help stimulate economic growth.

“Our investment in schools, hospitals, roads and other infrastructure is set to top £3.4 billion in 2013-14, which is estimated to support more than 40,000 jobs across the Scottish economy.”

Education Secretary Michael Russell said: “The Scottish Government has demonstrated its commitment to Scotland’s college sector by adding £61 million to the sector’s budget over the next two years compared to what was originally planned for the spending review period.

“We are progressing college reforms that will substantially improve students’ chances of securing a job at the end of their course, as well as ensuring local businesses are able to employ the right people with the right skills.

“Our investment in Inverness College UHI sits alongside upcoming investment in Glasgow and Kilmarnock colleges to ensure our students have state of the art learning facilities to help them maximise their potential. The new Inverness campus will play a crucial role in the expansion of research, further and higher education in the Highland region.”

Barry White, Chief Executive of the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT), explained: “Reaching financial close of a project of this size and complexity in only 17 months is unprecedented. This project, funded through the SFT led NPD programme, is a massive boost to the local economy with the main contractor committed to deliver at least 25 apprenticeship positions.

“When it opens in summer 2015, Inverness College UHI will be housed in modern, high quality and fit-for-purpose buildings and achieve great value-for-money thanks to the collaborative efforts and professionalism of all partners involved.”

Cash flow boost for Scottish construction industry

Cash flow boost for Scottish construction industry

The construction industry in Scotland is set to benefit from an initiative to speed up payments to contractors in public sector developments.

Project bank accounts are ring-fenced accounts from which payments can be made directly and simultaneously by a client to the main contractor and members of the supply chain, removing the scope for delays in payment from the main contractor’s bank account.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, announced the Scottish Government’s intention to trial the scheme during a procurement debate held today.

The trial is an early recommendation of the Review of Procurement in Construction, which is set to report in the summer on how Scotland’s £2 billion public construction contracts are awarded.

The system, which should be in place later this year, will speed up available funds to all contractors with electronic payments typically taking five days.

Project bank accounts will also reduce the time between initial expenditure on labour, plant and materials and subsequent payment, which will help reduce insolvencies, particularly amongst SMEs.

Ms Sturgeon said: “The Scottish Government is working tirelessly to improve on the procurement system in Scotland’s public sector in order to maximise economic growth and support jobs.

“We are happy to take on board the trial of project bank accounts for public sector projects and we are now looking to identify suitable opportunities which will support local and national economies and boost cash flow for both contractors and subcontractors.

“This should in turn help to preserve Scottish jobs and retain indigenous skills and expertise.

“Using project bank accounts guarantees a diverse and competitive marketplace, meaning that Scotland’s many SMEs are given the confidence to compete for Scottish construction contracts.”

Ken Lewandowski, deputy chair of the Review of Procurement in Construction, said: “Times are tough in the construction industry, and when payment for work is delayed, things only get tougher.

“Project bank accounts can help to relieve some of that pressure, especially on Scotland’s SMEs.

“The case for trialling them is so compelling, and the industry so important to the economy, that we felt it was appropriate to make this early recommendation, before we publish our full report in the summer.”

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