Derek Mackay pledges Scottish National Investment Bank will begin operations in 2020 despite UK Government “stymieing”

Ben Wray

Carbon neutral developments will be key to strategic investments, says finance minister

  • Mackay attacks UK Government for frustrating the financing of the new Scottish National Investment Bank
  • Finance minister pledges bank will begin operation within twelve months regardless of UK Government actions
  • First Minister’s commitment to a ‘well-being economy’ will be at the heart of MacKay’s fourth Scottish budget

SCOTTISH Government Finance Minister Derek Mackay has called on the UK Government to stop “stymieing” his attempts to fully finance the forthcoming Scottish National Investment Bank.

Speaking to the SNP conference in Aberdeen, Mackay said that the Scottish Government’s request to carry funds between financial years, necessary for a bank to be sufficiently financed, had been refused by the UK Government. Scotland’s current devolved settlement, and the way it is financed from central government, means that Scotland is restricted in its ability to create and finance institutions like the investment bank.

“Addressing delegates in his lunchtime speech today [14 Oct] he said: “We want to seize the economic opportunities that lie ahead.

“That this why we are building the Scottish National Investment Bank – as called for by you, the party conference.

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“Providing long-term patient capital and backed by £2 billion of Scottish Government money, the bank will play a key role in the Scottish economy for generations to come.

“It will be an ethical investor supporting companies to grow and innovate, mission-focused to help our country transform. Just as our new Mutual Investment Model and Infrastructure pipeline will help build our country’s infrastructure.

“But for the Scottish National Investment Bank to operate effectively, we require a Treasury permission to carry money between financial years, as you would expect of a bank.

“With the stroke of a pen the Treasury could give that permission, resolve the issue, and allow our bank to progress, but so far they have refused.

“So conference, I call upon the UK government to stop stymieing the building of the bank, and let us get on with the job.”

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Mackay added that regardless of UK Government efforts to frustrate the formation of the bank, it would be operating within 12 months, saying: “Here is the good news: come what may, the bank is on track to be open for business this time next year.”

He also said that the bank would be used to foster carbon neutral development.

“The prime mission of the bank will be supporting the transition to net-zero emissions.”

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Sturgeon announced plans for a Scottish National Investment Bank, a policy idea developed by pro-independence think tank Common Weal, after pressure from party members.

In a possible pitch to the Left of the party amid speculation about who will replace First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as leader, Mackay also drew a distinction between the Scottish Government’s action to bring the Ferguson shipyard into public ownership with the failure of similar action by the UK Government at the Harland and Wolff yard in Belfast.

Mackay also said that his fourth Scottish budget would place Sturgeon’s emphasis on a “well-being” economy at its heart.

Derek Mackay pledges Scottish National Investment Bank will begin operations in 2020 despite UK Government “stymieing”

Picture: Scottish Government

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