A national investment bank created for Scotland would make at least £2 billion of financing available to companies. The blueprint was published yesterday by Benny Higgins, the head of the advisory committee looking into whether the institution is needed. The money would be provided for everything from small loans to micro-businesses to tens of millions of pounds of so-called patient capital for longer term investments. Mr Higgins, the outgoing chief executive of Tesco Bank, said that Scotland was particularly under-served in providing funding of between £1 million and £10 million. Nicola Sturgeon, who was also at the event in Edinburgh, immediately endorsed the findings of Mr Higgins and his team. She said that the Scottish government would work on the issue “at pace” and intended to announce its next steps in May. Legislation would be needed to create the Scottish National Investment Bank. It would also need to pass state aid tests from the European Union and meet other regulatory compliance measures. Helping Scotland transition to a low-carbon economy and investing in renewable energy technologies were cited as possible sectors the bank could invest in. Several existing public sector funding schemes, including the Scottish Investment Bank at Scottish Enterprise and the £500 million Scottish Growth Scheme, are likely to be transferred to the bank over time. The first minister said it was too early to say what the set-up costs would be or how much senior executives at the bank would be paid. However, she committed to providing substantial funding so the bank can operate at scale. “The time for debating whether this is a good idea is past. We just need to get on with it,” she added. It is understood Edinburgh is the most likely location for the bank’s headquarters.
Times 1st March 2018 read more »
FT 28th Feb 2018 read more »
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The Scottish Government has published its new strategy to tackle climate change amid criticism from campaigners that it does not go far enough. Minister says proposals are realistic as campaigners highlight areas for improvement. Climate change secretary Roseanna Cunningham acknowledged that the Government’s final climate change plan would be “challenging” to achieve but insisted it was “ambitious and realistic”. The plan sets out how the Government intends to achieve a target of reducing emissions by 66% by 2032. It includes the commitment for 50% of all of Scotland’s energy needs to be delivered by renewables by 2030. By 2032 transport emissions are to be cut by 37%, new petrol and diesel cars phased out and low emission zones will be introduced in cities across the country. Other targets for that year include a 33% reduction in emissions from buildings and woodland to be increased from 18% to cover 21% of Scotland. The plan also stipulates that 70% of all waste will be recycled by 2025. Environmental campaigners said the plan had failed to tackle agricultural emissions and had taken a step backwards in some areas. Tom Ballantine, chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, said: “In areas such as reducing emissions from our homes the government has significantly decreased ambition from its first draft. “Particularly short-sighted is the failure to put in place any credible plan to help farmers to reduce their climate impacts, despite the fact that agriculture and land use now account for almost a quarter of our emissions. Jenny Hogan, deputy chief executive of Scottish Renewables, welcomed the confirmation of the 2030 target. But she added: “We are however disappointed to see a significant drop in ambition in decarbonising the heat sector, with the majority of effort pushed back to after 2025. The carbon targets for both the heat and transport sectors are lower than those recommended by the government’s independent advisors, the Committee on Climate Change.” The Scottish Government is to unveil a new Climate Bill before summer 2018, with the coalition calling for a target of zero emissions by 2050 at the latest and 77% by 2030. Green MSP Mark Ruskell said: “The published climate plan looks like ministers have used the promise of progress on electric vehicles to scale back plans to tackle fuel poverty, allow traffic to grow and avoid more ambition in agriculture.
STV 28th Feb 2018 read more »
Previous ambitions included the aim for 80 per cent of Scots to be living in low-carbon homes in the next 12 years, but this has been revised downward to 35 per cent. Cuts to emissions from agriculture have also been lowered, from 12 per cent to 9 per cent. “In areas such as reducing emissions from our homes, the government has significantly decreased ambition from its first draft,” said Tom Ballantine, chair of environmental coalition Stop Climate Chaos Scotland. “Particularly short-sighted is the failure to put in place any credible plan to help farmers to reduce their climate impacts, despite the fact that agriculture and land use now account for almost a quarter of our emissions.”
Scotsman 28th Feb 2018 read more »
Energy Voice 1st March 2018 read more »