The Scottish National Investment Bank is a step closer to becoming a reality as the Scottish Parliament published a bill proposing its creation and funding.
The legislation grants Holyrood the necessary powers to set up the bank, which will provide financing for businesses in Scotland.
The government has committed to investing £2 billion over ten years to capitalise the bank, which is due to launch next year. The bank is regarded as an essential tool to revive Scotland’s flatlining economy, which has been lagging behind the rest of the UK in recent years, focusing on longer-term loans of 15 to 20 years.
Business leaders welcomed the move, saying it could be “transformative” for the private sector.
Tracy Black, director of CBI Scotland, said: “The introduction of the Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB) Bill is welcome news for the Scottish business community.
“If used effectively, the SNIB could have a transformative impact by encouraging the greater patient capital investment needed to support infrastructure development in the long term and catalyse private sector investment.”
Benny Higgins, strategic adviser to the First Minister on the Scottish National Investment Bank, said: “Today we mark another important milestone on the path to the creation of the Scottish National Investment Bank.
“The bank will play a critical role in ensuring that the Scottish economy is structurally fit for the 21st century. To do so effectively, it is essential that the bank pursues close collaboration with the enterprise agencies and other parties that contribute to the wellbeing of the Scottish economy.”
The government’s latest budget committed initial capitalisation of £340 million over the first two years of its operation.
Economy secretary Derek Mackay said: “The bank will become a cornerstone in Scotland’s economic architecture supporting businesses across all stages of the business growth life-cycle, in addition to financing infrastructure to secure private sector investment. These steps will ensure we are delivering for the economy of today, ready to seize the opportunities of the future. With record low unemployment and further economic growth, we will do all we can to stimulate the economy.”
Last year, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned against a bonus culture in the bank, but acknowledged six-figure salaries were likely to be necessary to attract “experienced people”.