Net Zero: Investor Panel minutes - October2023

Minutes for the meeting of the investor panel held on 31 October 2023.

Attendees and apologies


  • First Minister
  • Deputy First Minister & Cabinet Secretary for Finance
  • Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Net Zero & Just Transition


  • Angus Macpherson
  • Baroness Margaret Ford
  • Gavin Templeton
  • Andrew Telfer
  • Shane Corstorphine
  • John Watson
  • Judith Cruickshank


  • Peter Reekie
  • Willie Watt


  • Gregor Irwin, Scottish Government
  • Richard Rollison, Scottish Government
  • Andrew Hogg, Scottish Government
  • Martin McCloskey, Scottish Government


  • Cabinet Secretary for Wellbeing Economy, Fair Work & Energy
  • Alexandra Basirov
  • Michael McGhee

Items and actions

Welcome, introductions and apologies

The First Minister welcomed attendees and invited Angus to outline the approach of the Panel, methodology and points of note.


Angus noted that the Panel had spoken to over 40 individuals and institutions who are experts in investment finance and mostly know Scotland. The Panel has also engaged with the wider public sector to understand the current landscape and inform the Panel’s recommendations.

Margaret Ford then spoke about how the Panel had looked at other countries and jurisdictions who are perceived as being successful in attracting investment finance. Principally Western Australia and the Republic of Ireland.

Characteristics of investor friendly destinations

Margaret highlighted a couple of the key characteristics of investor friendly destinations which included political atmosphere and posture - Scotland is not always perceived as business friendly.

Communication and engagement - Investors recognise that Government often has to make difficult decisions but early engagement as policy is developed or changed will allow investors to contribute their views on the impact on investor sentiment and consider mitigation and timescales. Investors hate uncertainty and early engagement can provide much needed clarity.


Angus spoke about the challenges Scotland has in achieving projects of scale although ScotWind is an obvious exception. The Panel believe that we can use Scotland’s small size to our advantage by being nimble and using devolved powers to make Scotland investor friendly and of interest to prospective investors.

We need to develop a serious pipeline which sets out where private sector financing is required and provide shaped and costed proposals. Scale is important and we should take a national approach as the default option.

The delivery landscape needs simplified, investors need to know who to engage with and how.

Angus spoke about feedback he had gathered which indicates that Government needs to be clear about what their priorities are and then communicate these.

There are a plethora of strategies and objectives set but no clear delivery plan. Difficult decisions need to be made by Government on plans and priorities.

Planning and consenting remain an issue for investors however it was recognised that publication of The National Planning Framework 4 is a step forward. However, Government needs to do more work to communicate its objectives to investors and monitor the impact.

The Panel noted and welcomed the First Minister's recent announcement that due diligence and Value for Money assessments would commence to issue a Scottish Government Bond. This announcement was partly informed by the Panel’s recommendations.

Gavin Templeton then spoke about the work that the Panel had progressed on the sector deep dive into ScotWind, Hydrogen and Heat.

In conversations with investors, it was obvious that ScotWind is the most significant opportunity of scale on investors radar, hydrogen is perceived to be a developing technology and further work is needed to demonstrate how Scotland might exploit  this. Work on heat networks needs to demonstrate a viable profit margin.

The Panel were also keen to emphasise that the Scottish Government should make representations to the UK Government on grid capacity and connections.

First Minister’s / Deputy First Minister/ Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Net Zero and Just Transitions response

Ministers welcomed the Panel’s recommendations and agreed that the Panel had been clear and set out a path for Scotland to consider in order to attract mobile capital around the physical infrastructure needed to support a just transition.

Government needs to engage with and understand investors better if we are to meet the scale and pace of the transition needed which is unprecedented. Government and its agencies need to work in sync if we are to achieve our climate ambitions and the private and public sector must work together to attract the scale of investment required.

Work to drive recommendations forward will be led by the newly established Investment Strategy and Delivery Unit within Scottish Government. Through time this will become a multi-disciplinary team and include public and private sector partners when appropriate.


Investor Panel

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