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Swinney: investment in infrastructure will be strong focus of SNP's spending plan

Investment in Scotland's essential infrastructure will be a strong focus of the SNP's spending plan when it is published tomorrow, according to Finance Secretary John Swinney.

The minister made the pledge on a visit to a £228 million college "super campus" in Glasgow.

Investment in infrastructure will rise to £4.17 billion next year, he said.

"Despite the UK Government's decision to cut the Scottish Government's discretionary spending power by more than 11% in real terms over five years, with our capital budget being reduced by almost 27% in real terms, our plans include securing £8 billion of infrastructure investment over the next two years," he said.

"The budget also confirms funding for childcare, free school meals, business rates and bedroom tax, helping ensure Scotland is the best place for our children to grow up, that we offer the most competitive environment for business within the UK and that people in Scotland are protected from the worst effects of Westminster's welfare cuts."

The college has two city-centre campuses and is targeted to create 170 jobs and provide a minimum 40 modern apprenticeships.

It was created through the merger of Glasgow's nautical, central and metropolitan colleges.

Principal Paul Little said the college already puts about £32 million into the local economy each year.

"The college is a powerhouse of skills development, located in the very heart of the city centre, a part of Glasgow which the Chamber of Commerce has recently re-prioritised as an economic hub and a driver of economic development," he said.

Mr Swinney published his Budget Bill last Friday.

It confirms £55 million for free school meals, £59 million extra for childcare on top of the £191 million previously pledged, £77 million for business rates relief and £20 million to cover benefit cuts from those deemed to have extra bedrooms.

The budget will be the last before the referendum on independence.

Mr Swinney said: "'With the full powers of independence the Scottish Government could do yet more to strengthen our economy, to create more jobs and to make the kind of transformational investment that would help thousands of people back into work . That is the opportunity on offer to the people of Scotland in 2014."

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