An infrastructure project in the Western Isles could get underway now if the UK Government gives Scotland the green light, Alex Neil said.
The Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment was speaking as a list of 36 projects across Scotland that are “shovel ready” was provided to Westminster by the Scottish Government.
These include a project in Stornoway, the £1 million Lews Castle regeneration.
This project is close to or already has completed the planning and procurement process and is ready for construction to get underway.
However, with UK Government cuts of 32 per cent in Scotland’s capital budget having a severe effect, funding for it is not yet available.
As a result the Scottish Government is asking the UK Government to allow Scotland to bring forward capital funding from future years, to allow construction to get underway straight away.
Mr Neil said: “The Scottish Government has always been clear that investing in our infrastructure is one of the primary ways to create jobs and stimulate growth in our economy.
“That is why Westminster cuts in our capital budget of 32 per cent are both wrong and damaging.
“But the cuts we are having to absorb mean that certain projects have not been delivered as quickly as we would like.
“ As a result, this project in the Western Isles which, if funding was made available, could get underway straightaway.
“The Scottish Government has now written to the UK Government, urging them to allow us to fund this project immediately.
“If we get the green light, this project will make a real difference to the economy in the Western Isles, supporting jobs and providing vital work for the construction industry.
For the full list of projects, which was submitted to the UK Government visit http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2012/03/shovelready09032012