We accelerated £347 million of capital expenditure to help Scottish construction companies through the recession. We would have done more this year had it not been for the chancellor's refusal to make provision for it. However, we are taking action on a number of other fronts, supporting apprenticeships and encouraging prompt payment. We want the construction industry to play its part in building the Scotland of the future. In addition, I made announcements yesterday of consequential funding from the United Kingdom budget, much of which is allocated to construction projects in Scotland.
It is now three years since the Government pledged to replace public-private partnerships with an alternative model of public procurement. When can we expect that alternative public procurement model to be unveiled?
As Wendy Alexander knows, the Government is taking forward its intervention in the construction industry and in capital markets through a range of different approaches. We have our traditional capital budget, which is being fully spent and utilised. We have taken forward a range of projects that we inherited from our predecessors and we have taken forward a range of other initiatives, which I explained to Mr McNulty a moment ago, through the work of the Scottish Futures Trust. That is the Government's approach. We are working to ensure that we do all we can to support the construction industry in these difficult
Many years ago—in the summer of 2007—I shared a television interview with the cabinet secretary in which he said that the Scottish Futures Trust would be available in October 2007. Does he recall that interview and that commitment? Will he answer the question that was asked previously: when will the model of funding that was promised in his manifesto, and subsequently, be available?
Mr Kerr will forgive me for not having an encyclopaedic recollection of all my television interviews. I will check the record to find out what words of wisdom he and I exchanged on that occasion. I am sure that it was one of the many pleasant encounters that we have had in the television studios of the country—I look forward to many more in the years to come.
The point that I made to Wendy Alexander was that the Government is pressing ahead with an ambitious capital expenditure programme. We are doing that in the context of a very difficult economic situation, but we are determined to ensure that we deliver an ambitious programme for the people of Scotland.
Those are elements of the operating plan that the Scottish Futures Trust is progressing. The SFT is involved in a range of ways in raising funds to invest—Shirley-Anne Somerville gave the particularly welcome example of the national housing trust earlier—and the Government will continue to take that approach.