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Scottish Government allocates £110 million for digital services

09/02/21

Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Scottish Government has announced plans to spend £110 million on digital public services and £25 million on digital healthcare as part of its Infrastructure Investment Plan for the next five years.

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The digital service spend is part of an extra £2 billion added to the plan, taking it to £33 billion overall, since the draft version was published in September.

It is aimed at boosting local services, schools and healthcare and supporting 45,000 jobs across Scotland.

The document says the £110 million earmarked for the Digital Public Services programme will be aimed at supporting the transformation of key public services. While it does not specify individual services it refers to investing in digital inclusion, reducing the need to travel and supporting safe active travel and local public services.

The investment in digital health will be focused on developing services based on the NearMe video consultation platform.

Other plans include £122 million for the development of an emergency services network for Scotland, which will contribute to the effort to improve mobile coverage through the Shared Rural Network; and £35 million for an open access digital planning system.

In addition, £500 million will be invested under the R100 programme to provide a future proofed superfast broadband network.

The ‘investment hierarchy’ within the plan involves four stages: determining future need, which includes the availability of digital platforms and technological innovation; maximising the useful life of existing assets; repurposing and co-locating assets; and deciding on whether to replace, create or build new assets.

Commenting on the overall plan, Infrastructure Secretary Michael Matheson said: “Since we published our draft IIP in September, we have received broad support for our world leading approach and have increased the total spend by £2 billion to further boost our economic and green recovery from the pandemic.

“Our overall focus is on driving inclusive economic growth, the transition to net zero, and building resilient and sustainable places. This package of significant investment will support economic confidence in every corner of Scotland and send out a clear message that we will continue to do all we can to secure our recovery from coronavirus .

“In the process we will also be supporting over 45,000 jobs and building a strong future for Scotland."

Image from iStock, Oleksii Liskonih

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