Scottish National Investment Bank: How can it make for a fairer Scotland?

FIRST Minister Nicola Sturgeon unveiled ambitious plans for a Scottish National Investment Bank in September as a key plank of her programme for government.

With it, she turned to trusted industry heads and promised a Just Transition Commission, identifying the potential it has to create real change.

But today – as consultation  on the bank’s make-up ends at Midnight – five organisations covering a cross section of society have their say too. 

Collectively, they say they want the SNIB to exist to make Scotland greener, more equal and fair.

UNISON, Scottish Organiser Dave Watson

“UNISON welcomes the decision to establish a Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB). We have long argued that increased public investment is essential and that austerity policies are immensely damaging to the economy as well as to families struggling to get by. We agree that the SNIB is an opportunity to seize the economic opportunities of tackling climate change, but this must be done through an inclusive approach based on Just Transition principles.”

Engender, Executive Director Emma Ritch

“We see huge potential for the National Investment Bank to enable Scotland to move closer to gender equality. If designed with equality, non-discrimination, and inclusive growth at its heart, the Scottish National Investment Bank can support much-needed investment in child and social care, alongside green technologies. Climate change is affecting women and men differently, and measures to tackle it must also be gendered. It is vital that the Scottish National Investment bank is developed with an understanding of how it can be used to support Scotland’s work for gender equality, through its governance, its investment criteria, and its measures of success.”

RSPB Scotland, Senior Policy Officer Alexa Morrison

“Given the urgent need for more investment in our natural environment and tackling climate change, we strongly support the Scottish Government’s proposals to establish a Scottish National Investment Bank. This is also a great opportunity for the Scottish Government to align the Bank’s investment purposes with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which have international buy in from businesses, Governments and civil society. From big energy efficiency projects, innovations in renewables like floating wind, to investing in nature through programmes like peatland restoration or creating the forests of the future, there are many exciting opportunities for investments that will make Scotland’s future cleaner, greener and brighter for both people and wildlife.”

Common Weal, Director Robin McAlpine

“Right across Europe the idea of making investments designed not to make the investor lots of money but to pursue the public good has become a mainstream issue. A few years ago national investment banks and green industrial policies were seen as fringe issues but are now at the heart of how people think we can tackle the serious social and environmental problems we face. This is Scotland’s chance to build an investment bank which works for the collective good and to fix some of the economic and environmental failures we so urgently need to address.”

Friends of the Earth Scotland, Finance Campaigner Ric Lander

“Scotland urgently needs new sources of public investment that can fund the transition away from fossil fuels and towards a low-carbon economy. With the right remit, the Scottish National Investment Bank can fill this role, creating thousands of green jobs by transforming our transport, heating, housing and electricity. It can also remake our economy to benefit everyone with a governance model that represents Scotland’s regions, industrial sectors, civil society and trade unions, and reflects the genders, abilities and ethnic backgrounds of our country. After years of campaigning to reform the current broken banking system, we have seen a great response from folk wanting to participate in discussions about creating something new. There is strong support from people in Scotland for a bank that has a transformational role in our economy to serve the common good, instead of private greed.”

SCIAF Director, Alistair Dutton

“SCIAF sees the huge impact global warming is having on vulnerable communities in developing countries every day. Families are struggling to grow enough food because of increasingly unpredictable weather and more frequent and severe storms, droughts and floods. Pope Francis has called for an ‘ecological conversion’ and urged richer, industrialised economies to move away from polluting fossil fuels towards cleaner alternatives. Creating the National Investment Bank is an opportunity to help Scotland create a low-carbon economy which protects workers’ livelihoods, create new industrial opportunities, and deliver a fairer and more equal Scotland.”

The consultation paper stated that the Scottish Government wants to “seize the economic opportunities of tackling climate change” and that the Bank will be purposed with “accelerating the transformation to a low carbon, high-tech, connected, globally competitive and inclusive economy.”

Benny Higgins, CEO of Tesco Bank, was appointed to the consultation with an Advisory Group, to publish a set of proposals for the Bank in February next year.

WANT TO LEARN MORE? Read: Scottish Government – Scottish National Investment Bank

IMAGE CREDITS: cc Nattanan23

Shaun Milne is a Scottish based journalist with a particular interest in environmental issues, politics and travel.

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