CommonWeal Director tells #SNP17 delegates that the idea of investment over-extraction will be an important idea in #ScotRef
COMMONWEAL DIRECTOR Robin McAlpine has said that a Scottish National Investment Bank (Snib) is a sufficiently “bold” change to the country’s economic landscape top convince voters that Scotland is ready for the move to independence.
Speaking to a packed CommonWeal and Friends of the Earth Scotland (FoES) fringe of around 150 delegates at the SNP’s spring conference, the head of the pro-independence thinktank urged members to back a motion that day (17 March) for the Snib for the economic dynamism and security it could provide a newly independent country.
He said: “This afternoon you will have the opportunity to vote for a motion that says we are not a stretch and extract country, we aren’t spivs and speculators and chancers.
“Instead of having to go to the city for these funds, they are right under our noses.” Sakina Sheikh
“People who ask ‘what’s so different about the scots’ – this is what’s so difference.
“It makes us look big enough and bold enough for independence.
“People are right to ask ‘are they willing to do something bold, like they are asking us to do in voting Yes’?”
McAlpine said a Snib could change Scotland’s economy from one based on “extraction” – short-term economic decisions based on the extraction of maximum profit regardless of long-term social and economic effects – to one based on a model of long-term economic and social investment.
It would do this by marshalling capital resting dormant with financial institutions due to a shortage of immediately profitable investment options in the economy. McAlpine said that possible barriers to the creation of a Snib including treasury opposition and EU competition rules could be overcome.
“We are going to be independent soon.
“We need to have to have the best possible money system to make that work,” he added.
He said that such a bank could also remove the expensive system of public building the Public Private Partnerships, which incur huge costs through escalating interest rates over decades.
Also speaking at the meeting in the AECC conference centre in Aberdeen, Sakina Sheikh of the Platform group involved in campaign for pension schemes to be invested in socially useful enterprises rather than in fossil fuels and the arms industry, said: “We have a real need for investment in local areas, to invest in housing, transport infrastructure.
“Instead of having to go to the city for these funds, they are right under our noses.
“Local people and local councils are in the best position to know how these decisions are made.”
Supporting the idea of a Snib, SNP Glasgow Provan MSP Ivan McKee said
“The UK and Scotland have suffered from long term under investment from the UK Government.
“The consequences of that are you aren’t growing the economy, you aren’t growing the tax base so you aren’t growing public services.
“The whole concept of pooling in capital is the alternative to that.”
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