The Scottish Government has recognised the need to invest in development, infrastructure and planning in its budget statement released yesterday. A range of measures – including the £4 billion allocated to infrastructure – could help deliver more effective planning and support new development.
Derek Mackay, Scotland’s Finance Secretary, also announced an increase in funding for planning – nearly trebling it from £1.8 million to £5.2 million in 2018/19.
Stefano Smith FRTPI, RTPI Scotland Convenor said:
“We are pleased the Scottish Government have recognised the value of planning and its potential to unlock new homes, development and growth across the nation by increasing funding for it. However, we need to make sure that the funding, particularly for city region deals, is used within a long term planned context if it is to support transformational change. This will require strong strategic planning arrangements.”
The RTPI Scotland welcomed the following measures:
- £150M Building Scotland Fund to unlock new houses and development
- £340M initial capitalisation for National Investment Bank which could be used to secure the infrastructure required to stimulate and support new development, including housing
- doubling the Scottish Government investment in city region deals
- increase in the Affordable Housing budget, up £138.9 million to £722.5 million
The RTPI Scotland has said it is waiting to see the full details of the Local Government budget. It has urged councils to increase investment in the planning service following a drop of 25% in planning department staff over the last 6 years.
Earlier this month, the Scottish Government released a new Planning Bill, which Stefano Smith FRTPI, RTPI Scotland Convenor said was “the right direction of travel…but question if it is bold enough to make the step change required for a world leading planning system."