All recommendations backed
£2 billion for Higgins’ national investment bank
Benny Higgins made 21 recommendations for the bank (photo by Terry Murden)
The new Scottish National Investment Bank will receive £2 billion in capital over ten years, Economy Secretary Keith Brown has announced.
Mr Brown confirmed that ministers have accepted all 21 recommendations for the bank set out by former Tesco Bank CEO Benny Higgins. Legislation will be introduced next year to set it up.
He said the bank will operate on a commercial basis, with a strong ethical focus, and will be independent of ministers who will set “strategic missions”.
There was no word on who will sit on the board or chair it.
Mr Brown said: “Many countries benefit from having national investment banks which provide patient, strategic investments that focus on the major economic challenges. National promotional banks play an important role in actively creating and shaping new markets and tackle big societal challenges.
“That is why we are committed to investing £2 billion over 10 years to capitalise the Bank. This scale is deemed to be ambitious, achievable and realistic, at a level that will make a material difference to the supply of capital to the Scottish economy and can lever in additional private investment.
“We will further refine its expectations of the Bank, and the missions set for it, through consultation with stakeholders. We will listen to their expectations and priorities for investment and governance of the Bank.”
Scottish Labour’s Economy spokesperson Jackie Baillie said the government should have been more ambitious.
“After years of announcements but little action, the SNP is finally bringing forward plans for a Scottish Investment Bank.
“While this is welcome, it is disappointing that, even after all this time, the SNP is being so timid.
“Scotland’s economy desperately needs something much bolder and more ambitious. The SNP’s proposed Scottish Investment Bank is in danger of not having enough money to do the job required.
“As businesses have come to realise, the SNP is more spin than substance when it comes to the economy.
“The SNP should listen to Jim McColl – a member of the First Minister’s Council of Economic Advisers – who was very clear in his evidence to the Economy Committee that we need to be much more ambitious.
“Scottish Labour is committed to delivering a Scottish Investment Bank worthy of the name, with £20billion of funding over the next decade – ten times more than the amount proposed by the SNP.
“And that’s in addition to the £20 billion from our National Transformation Fund for key infrastructure investment. That’s the kind of ambition this country needs – because that’s what it takes to really transform our economy.”