SNP conference delegates back Scottish National Investment Bank

SNP conference delegates back Scottish National Investment Bank

The Scottish Government should explore the creation of a new Scottish National Investment Bank, delegates at the SNP’s national conference have said.

Party delegates gave unanimous backing on Friday to a motion which said the devolved government should be “examining the feasibility and the creation of a Scottish National Investment Bank”, CommonSpace reports.

The motion also said economic development could not be left “solely in the hand of our private banking and financial sector”.

Think tanks Common Weal and the New Economics Foundation, who jointly published a report calling for a Scottish National Investment Bank last October, welcomed the move.

Their report, Blueprint for a Scottish National Investment Bank, argued that the Scottish Government would have saved a total of £26 billion if projects financed through Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and Non-Profit Dividend (NPD) schemes had instead been financed by a Scottish National Investment Bank.

Ben Wray, head of policy at Common Weal, told CommonSpace: “The SNP membership has spoken - now the leadership should listen. A Scottish National Investment Bank is exactly what the Scottish economy needs in the post-Brexit landscape: tackle chronic under-investment, provide the patient capital small and medium sized Scottish businesses are not getting and create high-paying jobs.

“In countries like Germany a state investment bank is the norm - there’s no reason why that shouldn’t be the case here, and the Scottish Government could set it up now. It’s an idea whose time has come.”

Laurie MacFarlane, economist from the New Economics Foundation, added: “The passing of today’s motion reflects the strength of the economic case for establishing a new Scottish National Investment Bank. Meeting the challenges of the twenty-first century requires bold and ambitious plans for financing and directing investment in a smart, inclusive and sustainable direction. But with public budgets in decline, economic uncertainty increasing and a banking sector still focused on short-term shareholder returns, the need for fresh thinking around investment is greater than ever.

“A new Scottish National Investment Bank would channel investment to the areas of the economy most in need. In doing so, it would boost productivity, expand the business base, speed up the transition to a low carbon economy and support the creation of thousands of new jobs. It would also generate billions of pounds of savings for the public purse by providing a low cost alternative to expensive private finance schemes. It’s now up to the Scottish Government to act to turn it into a reality.”

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