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More than £1.5 billion spent on infrastructure

A TOTAL of £1.5 billion of public and private sector cash is being spent on Scotland's infrastructure thanks to an innovative funding scheme, the Deputy First Minister said.

Nicola Sturgeon said the tax incremental financing (TIF) model would boost capital spending and support jobs and apprenticeships.

The scheme allows councils to fund infrastructure work by borrowing money against the cash they expect to raise in business rates once the projects are completed. Ms Sturgeon hailed the funding model as she saw work being carried out on Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

The initiative, which includes improvements to George Square, Upper Dundas Street and Buchanan Street as well as work on the Cathedral Street Bridge and Queen Street station, is using £80 million to lever in £310 million of private investment.

The scheme is expected to create about 1,600 jobs, while another TIF-funded scheme in the Falkirk area which aims to improve the M9 motorway links and boost Grangemouth's flood defences could create almost 6,000 jobs.

More than 1,000 new jobs could come from a project in Argyll and Bute, which includes work to extend Oban North Pier.

The Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) has spearheaded the development of the TIF funding model across Scotland.

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