Scottish Futures Trust saves taxpayer over £640m

Scottish_Futures_TrustThe Scottish Futures Trust (SFT), the body tasked with finding value for money in public sector building projects, has secured over £640 million in savings in its first five years.

Publishing its 2014/19 Corporate Plan, SFT also outlined where its expertise will be focused to further accelerate economic growth across Scotland.

The independent body said its work had resulted in the construction of £200m of “innovatively financed” housing as well as 67 schools built for the price of 55 through the £1.25bn Scotland’s Schools for the Future programme.

In addition, the trust said £160m had been invested through the use of the tax incremental financing (TIF) scheme, which allows councils to fund infrastructure work by borrowing money against the cash they expect to raise in business rates when the projects are completed.

SFT said it had secured £4bn of additional investment in the public sector over and above traditional capital budgets.

By challenging the status quo and continuing to increase levels of investment, SFT’s Corporate Plan highlights new and enhanced areas of work. These include:

  • Implementing its pioneering Growth Accelerator Model (GAM) across Scotland’s cities – in effect this accelerates public and private sector investment and creates economic growth and long-term employment opportunities

  • Planning, scoping and devising the delivery strategy for Scotland’s future digital requirements to provide ultrafast broadband and wireless infrastructure that will enable greater connectivity to support businesses and communities across Scotland
  • Developing creative financing initiatives to increase the supply of affordable-rent housing
  • Managing the additional £1bn of non-profit distributing (NPD) funding – in this period of smaller capital budgets NPD brings forward construction by many years, and creates and protects jobs
  • Driving forward SFT’s low carbon work streams including quadrupling the level of investment in energy efficient LED street lighting

  • SFT chairman, Sir Angus Grossart, stated: “SFT’s ability to deliver in these new areas of work is based on a clear focus on driving innovative infrastructure investment programmes across Scotland.

    “As an example, working with its partners, SFT was instrumental in developing and deploying the unique Regeneration Accelerator Model in record time for The City of Edinburgh Council to use for the redevelopment of the St James Quarter. This is helping the council move quickly to invest £61m into this vital area of the city and is unlocking further investment, with it recently being announced that the St James Centre owners TH Real Estate, aim to tender £400m of construction contracts.

    “In turn, this new economic growth programme has been further developed by SFT to form the basis of the ground-breaking Growth Accelerator Model that is being implemented with Scottish city partners to release substantial levels of private investment to leverage future growth.

    “Furthermore, having SFT’s existing NPD programme in place is allowing construction of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route to happen much sooner than would otherwise have been possible previously, thereby bringing forward £6bn of additional local economic benefit that will result when the road is in use.”

    Barry White, SFT’s chief executive added: “Our vision is world class infrastructure for the people of Scotland. With that clear focus, we will continue to provide innovative economic infrastructure investment models to stimulate additional private sector investment, accelerate economic growth and create jobs. That is the bedrock of SFT’s on-going work.

    “We have built a strong talented team from both the private and public sector. Commercial expertise will continue to be at the heart of SFT’s continued success. SFT will adapt and deploy the talents of our team to where they can make a real difference. We will take bold action in collaboration with our partners across Scotland to challenge the status quo – creating and driving forward new and ambitious ways of doing things.”

    Commenting on SFT’s work and the investment into the St James Quarter, Sue Bruce, The City of Edinburgh Council chief executive, said: “The collective effort and commitment to breathe new life into the St James Centre were instrumental in creating this unique investment model in record time. As a result The City of Edinburgh Council will swiftly invest £61m into this very important city-centre regeneration area which will help unlock further investment from the private sector.

    “Working in partnership with SFT, whose support and advice was crucial, along with the Scottish Government has enabled us to work with the main investor in developing this major site. The benefits to Edinburgh, and Scotland, in terms of employment, commercial and retail opportunities will be huge.”

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