MSPs pass Scottish National Investment Bank legislation

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MSPs have passed legislation to set up a Scottish National Investment Bank.

The bank, which should be operational by the end of 2020, is designed to make long-term investments in Scottish firms, over a period of 10 to 15 years.

The Scottish government has committed to putting £2bn of funding into the bank over the next decade.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said the bank "has the potential to transform Scotland's society" and build a "high-tech, inclusive economy".

The legislation passed by MSPs grants the necessary powers to set up the bank as a publicly listed company.

Its primary goal is to help Scotland transition to net-zero carbon emissions, while supporting small and medium-size enterprises.

Mr Mackay told MSPs that the bank would eventually be financially independent, and would be "commercially minded and also publicly accountable to the people of Scotland".

He said: "The bank's primary mission will be to face up to the global climate emergency by accelerating the just transition to net-zero carbon emissions. Harnessing private sector activity to achieve this has never been more important.

"We know from the experience of other countries that national investment banks can deliver real change, but this impact will not be delivered overnight. It will require determination, patience and support from partners right across Scotland."

image captionDerek Mackay told MSPs that the bank could "transform Scotland's society"

Parties unanimously backed the setting up of the bank, but said there had been a "missed opportunity" after a series of opposition amendments were rejected.

Scottish Labour wanted the bank to have 10 times as much government funding as is currently proposed, with finance spokeswoman Rhoda Grant saying the "relatively small amount of money that will be made available" meant "the bank will be a shadow of the high-investment, ethical bank that we have campaigned for".

The Scottish Greens said it was "very disappointing" that their amendments adding climate change commitments to the bill were voted down.

MSP Andy Wightman said there would be "yet more consultations" about the bank's mission, saying that "the climate crisis can ill afford to wait".

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