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Budget: Culture of innovation and connectivity

Published: 16 Dec 2015 12:33

Digital strategy funding increases to £130 million.

Digital strategy spend increases to £130 million in 2016-2017 as part of package of measures to bolster the culture of innovation and connectivity across Scotland's homes, businesses and universities, especially in rural areas.

The Scottish Government has also committed to bolster the culture of innovation with £345 million of investment across Scotland's universities, businesses and enterprise agencies - aligning their approach, pooling funding and simplifying access to support.

The 2016/17 budget will support economic growth by:

  • Working with our partners - including enterprise agencies, the Scottish Funding Council and universities - to consider how best to use research and innovation budgets of over £345 million to drive increased collaboration and support the forward the development of new products, processes and services
  • Protecting the Small Business Bonus for around 100,000 small firms and in order to support this investment a review of business rates which will include an increase in the Large Business Supplement
  • Continuing to provide funding for our eight Innovation Centres, where universities, research institutes, businesses and others will work in partnership to support the commercialisation of world-class research in big data, digital health, industrial biotechnology, sensor technology, construction, stratified medicine, aquaculture and oil and gas
  • Promoting the Scottish Business Pledge for companies that show public leadership through innovation, internationalisation and championing Fair Work by paying the real Living Wage
  • Ensuring that Scotland continues to be a world leader in social enterprise by investing £24.5 million in the Third Sector in 2016-17

Business Minister Fergus Ewing said:

"We want to ensure that homes and businesses across Scotland are in a position to take advantage of comprehensive, high-quality digital infrastructure and, with funding for digital strategy rising to £130 million this budget will ensure that homes and businesses, especially in rural areas, benefit from all that digital has to offer.

"Innovation is a key driver of growth, competitiveness and productivity and therefore rightly sits at the heart of Scotland's Economic Strategy. Scotland's businesses and universities are key to driving innovation and we are determined to support their work in this area."

"We believe that our approach to innovation support requires a greater focus to achieve more significant economic impact. We will work with all our partners – including enterprise agencies, the Scottish Funding Council and universities – to further align our approach, to pool funding and to simplify access to support."

Notes to editors

Full budget document