The 2013/14 budget for Scotland is aimed at stimulating the economy of the country, with construction being targeted for special help.
In his draft announcement at Holyrood last month, John Swinney, the Finance Secretary, said:
“In these difficult economic times this government is doing everything within its limited power to stimulate Scotland’s economy, to invest in our young people, protect households and support front line services.”
Highlights of Swinney’s speech said that as well as introducing a recruitment drive for young people, an extra £1.5m would be provided to VisitScotland.
The headline announcements were directed at the construction industry.
Since the economic downturn, the sector has been hit hard by cancelled projects. Many have also looked at alternative commercial finance in Scotland, largely because invoice payments have been delayed.
In a plan to provide a fillip to the industry, there will be £80m provided for the Schools for the Future programme. Another boost is hoped to be provided through the injection of £40m for affordable housing schemes.
Sectors doing well are also going to be helped. In particular, the booming oil and gas industry is to be supported through the creation of an Energy Skills Academy.
The academy will likewise support skills in the other industries, including renewables and carbon capture and storage.
The announcement received support from the Scottish Building Federation and the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations.
However, representatives from all major parties claimed it had failed in key areas.
Disappointment was also expressed from the Scottish Trades Union Congress.