In answering the questions set by the Committee it will help to begin by briefly outlining Common Weal’s vision for a Scottish National Investment Bank. We published the two reports which led to the creation of the Bank (one on the scope and principles, one on the relevant technical considerations) and have integrated our vision for the Bank into many of our policy papers (for example on economic development, renewable energy, housing and public infrastructure). It is from this body of work that our vision derives.
― The Scottish National Investment Bank must be a bank, not a grant body or venture capital fund. To enable the bank to be capitalised and maintain confidence from all parties, each lending decision must be made on the basis of a sound assessment of the business case. It must work on the assumption of generating stable and reliable returns on investment.
― The bank should have no restriction on who it lends to subject to meeting the mission of the bank. However its role should not simply be to fill gaps left by private banks. It should lend differently, not just lend to different people.
― It should initially be capitalised by the Scottish Government – we suggest to the order of £225 million per year for at least six years – but should also be allowed to use its capitalisation as leverage against further subscriptions from sources like pension funds.
― Three main bodies should be involved in the running of the bank. A Governance board directing operations. The Scottish Government directing the bank’s missions. And a public stakeholder board to ensure that the public good is upheld in decisions.
― Common Weal believes that all three boards should operate on a tripartite manner to ensure the bank’s missions are met.