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MSPs call for role in development of new investment bank

5 July 2019

MSPs should have a formal role in setting the aims of the proposed Scottish National Investment Bank, according to a Holyrood committee.

In its stage 1 report on the Scottish Government's bill to establish the bank, the Economy, Energy & Fair Work Committee approves the general principles of the bill, but highlights that more detail is needed on issues such as the role of an advisory group, stimulating demand and the role of MSPs when it comes to setting the missions of the bank.

Under the bill, Scottish ministers will have the power to set the strategic direction of the bank. While the bank will be operationally and administratively independent, ministers will set the parameters within which the bank should work as well as the direction for the bank’s investment through its strategic missions.

The committee prefers evidence which highlighted concerns that without formal Parliament approval, the missions of the bank could be downgraded in importance, to the view of Finance Secretary Derek Mackay that no such role was necessary. 

Committee convener Gordon Lindhurst MSP commented: “From the array of evidence we heard, the Scottish National Investment Bank has the potential to be a positive and integral part of the Scottish economy. However, there are areas covered by the bill and accompanying documents on which further work is required to ensure that the bank’s full potential is achieved.

“The committee considers that there is a crucial and formal role that MSPs should continue to play in the development of the bank. Similar processes exist in other pieces of comparable legislation and would be entirely appropriate here.

“In coming to this conclusion the committee recognised the vital role the bank will play in fundamental policy matters such as social housing, climate change or the care system, to name but a few.”

Click here to view the committee's report.

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