New Forth crossing will bridge gap to economic stimulus

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THE new Forth road bridge is to help the Scottish Government reach a balanced budget next year.

Finance Secretary John Swinney told MSPs he planned to use £20m set aside for “contingencies” in construction of the new crossing to help fund measures to stimulate the economy.

Work on the £1.6 billion bridge is under way and due for completion in 2016.

Mr Swinney said: “I have reviewed the benefits of our robust approach to major infrastructure projects such as the Forth Replacement Crossing. Due to the good progress that has been made, I am able to release budget contingency on the project this year of £20m.”

He said, given the cash cut in the budget the Scottish Government received from Westminster, he had tried to find “other resources that can work harder for us to deliver economic recovery”.

He said: “I have contingency arrangements in place on the Forth Replacement Crossing so that when you get to particular stages in the cycle of the project, some contingencies are resolved – when you have built one bit of it and your contingency is not required – so you can pull that back into the public finances.”