The Scottish Government announced in September 2017 they are creating a major new public bank: the Scottish National Investment Bank. This follows many years of work advocating for banking reform at a UK and Scottish level.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has employed the Chief Executive of Tesco Bank, Benny Higgins, to produce a plan for the Scottish National Investment Bank in February 2018.

If given the right mandate and leadership this new Bank could make the critical difference in funding a just transition to a low-carbon economy in Scotland. Regarding the creation of the Bank the Government has said it 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.”

A public consultation on the Bank took place in November 2017. Organisations including UNISON, RSPB Scotland, SCIAF, Common Weal, Engender and Friends of the Earth Scotland took part to say that the Bank had a fantastic opportunity to make Scotland fairer and greener.

Our vision for a green and ethical bank

Friends of the Earth Scotland believes the Scottish National Investment Bank must:

  1. Exist to make Scotland greener and more equal.
  2. Be a public body with the full powers of a bank, such that it can intervene to direct the development of Scotland’s economy.
  3. Be able to invest in publicly-owned infrastructure, as well as ethical businesses.
  4. Have governance structures that reflect Scotland’s diversity and include people from across the country’s regions, industrial sectors, trade unions and civil society.

This is a vision for a powerful, public, green and ethical bank that invests for the common good of all. We strongly believe such a Bank is within reach, but it will not come about without effort.

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.

Robin McAlpine, Director, Common Weal

Mariana Mazzucato on green investment

Professor Mariana Mazzucato researches public investment and sits on the Scottish Government’s Council of Economic Advisors. She spoke about the Scottish National Investment Bank at our event ‘Building the Future’ in October 2017.

Watch the event in full including a Q&A with Adair Turner at this link.

Blog: Creating a low-carbon Scotland with a National Investment Bank

The UK Government’s Green Investment Bank, based in Edinburgh, is now fully privatised – a new Scottish National Investment Bank could solve the country’s chronic lack of investment and fund our transition to a low-carbon economy if money is invested patiently and with care.

Read the blog

Finding out more information

Friends of the Earth Scotland has been advocating for reform of Scotland’s Banks for some years. To delve into this issue further we recommend reading:

Our vision for a green and ethical bank: Friends of the Earth Scotland’s response to the Scottish Government’s consultation, written by Ric Lander. Download here.

Banking for the Common Good report by Gemma Bone, published by Friends of the Earth Scotland, New Economics Foundation and Common Weal in 2016, asseses the banking crisis nearly a decade on and proposes a new local and national public banking architecture for Scotland, founded on a national investment bank. Download here.

Blueprint for a Scottish National Investment Bank report by Laurie McFarlane, published by the New Economics Foundation and Common Weal in 2016, outines how a Scottish National Investment Bank could be created by the Scottish Government. Download here.

Public Investment Banks: Towards a Better Model report published by the European Network on Debt and Development in 2017, reviews best (and worst) practice internationally for public investment banks. Download here.

Explainer: What exacty is a Scottish National Investment Bank and what will it do? Article by Sean Bell on Common Space, read here.