New Scottish National Investment Bank will help support development of a ‘high-tech’ economy

A national investment bank for Scotland – backed by £2bn of government capital – will help support the development of a ‘high-tech, inclusive economy’.

The Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB) passed a key legislative step at Holyrood yesterday and is on course to be operational by the end of the year.

The bank is part of a refreshed economic approach unveiled by Economy Secretary Derek Mackay, and is designed to provide direct investments that deliver ‘economic, environmental and social returns, and help Scotland’s journey towards net-zero carbon emissions’.

It will aim to increase innovation, give support to small and medium size enterprises (SMEs), and build a high-tech and inclusive economy.

It will have an initial capitalisation of £2 billion over 10 years with the aim that it will ultimately become self-financing.

Economy Secretary Derek Mackay said: “The Scottish National Investment Bank has the potential to transform Scotland’s society by powering innovation and building a high-tech, inclusive economy.

“Most importantly of all, 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.

“In passing this Bill today, the Scottish Parliament has taken the crucial first step towards creating an institution that is commercially minded and also publicly accountable to the people of Scotland.”

Outgoing Bank of England governor Mark Carney warned at the World Economic Forum in Davos yesterday that organisations that do not plan to transition to the green economy will face extinction. Mr Carney, who is due to become Boris Johnson’s adviser for climate change and special United Nations envoy, said there is a “fundamental reshaping of the system” underway.

Mr Johnson signalled yesterday that the Government will press ahead with plans to introduce a digital services tax on the tech giants – of 2 per cent on sales – despite warnings from the US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin that targeting the likes of Google and Amazon will be met with tariffs.