Investor Panel recommendations: Scottish Government response

The Scottish Government agrees with the Panel that there are characteristics of investor friendly states that Scotland should seek to emulate and that require a new and very different approach if Scotland is to attract the scale of global capital required. The Government accepts this challenge.

Ministerial Foreword

The Scottish Government established the Investor Panel to provide us with expert advice, from the perspective of investors, on how we can attract mobile capital and investment to support Scottish Government policy and the just transition to net zero, particularly around the physical infrastructure required to support this transition. As we approach COP28, it is clearer than ever that the domestic and global transition to net zero will require massive public and private investment, so this advice is especially timely.

As Co-Chair of the Investor Panel alongside Angus Macpherson I have greatly valued the insights, expertise and experience the Panel have shared with me, other Ministers and officials throughout their work.

The Scottish Government agrees with the Panel's diagnosis that there are characteristics of investor friendly states that Scotland can and should seek to emulate and that, partly because of its relatively small size, Scotland can be seen as a challenging destination for investment. At the same time, we share the Panel's view that our small size is a potential strength, allowing us to act nimbly and decisively to differentiate Scotland positively from other markets. There will, of course, always be a wide range of issues we need to consider in developing and delivering policy and the decisions we make will not always favour investor considerations. We will though aim to understand and consider investor interests and the impact of our decisions on existing and future investment. This is what states that are perceived as being investor friendly do and we can too.

Scotland already has a strong track record in attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) – attracting international companies to locate in Scotland. Indeed, supported by Scottish Development International, Scotland has been the most attractive destination in the UK outside London for such FDI for the eighth year in a row according to Ernst & Young's (EY) Annual Attractiveness Survey 2023. I believe that by acting on the Panel's recommendations on strategic direction, engagement and delivery and across ScotWind, hydrogen and heat, we can replicate that success in attracting mobile capital at scale to support Scotland's just transition to net zero.

The Panel's work has already informed decisions we have made; for example, our commitment of up to £500 million to leverage private investment in ports, manufacturing and assembly work critical to the success of offshore renewables; to start due diligence work with the aim of making bonds available to the market by the end of the current parliamentary session; and to establish an Investment Strategy and Delivery Unit to consider and drive forward the recommendations of the Panel.

However, the Panel is clear that Scotland's competitive advantages and ambitious policy commitments require a new and very different approach from that currently taken by Government and its agencies if Scotland is to attract the scale of global capital required. The Government accepts this challenge.

Our initial response to the Panel's findings and recommendations is set out below. We will publish a progress report on delivery by June 2024.

I would like to put on the record my thanks to all the Panel members for their contribution to the Panel's work and in particular Angus Macpherson, Margaret Ford and Gavin Templeton for the work they each led to inform the Panel's deliberations.

Thanks are also extended to Peter Reekie, Chief Executive of the Scottish Futures Trust and Willie Watt, Chair of the Scottish National Investment Bank, who acted as advisors to the Panel; those who have facilitated the work of the Panel by participating in interviews to inform recommendations; and the Universities of Edinburgh and Strathclyde for their support.

First Minister

Humza Yousaf MSP

Strategic Context

As set out in our Policy Prospectus and Programme for Government, the Scottish Government is focussed on three clear and mutually reinforcing missions:

  • Equality – Tackling poverty and protecting people from harm;
  • Opportunity – Building a fair, green and growing economy; and
  • Community – Delivering efficient and effective public services.

The Opportunity mission brings together our focus on delivering a just transition to net zero with seizing the massive economic opportunities of that transition.

Delivering our climate change target of net zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045 will require the fundamental transformation of our economy and society, underpinned by massive investment in physical infrastructure. For example, the Committee on Climate Change estimated that, to achieve our climate change targets, Scotland will need an additional £5-6 billion of investment in low carbon infrastructure each year, every year from 2030 (Sixth Carbon Budget – Climate Change Committee ( At the same time, maximising the economic, supply chain and employment opportunities of, for example, onshore and offshore wind, renewable hydrogen and changes to the built environment will also require very large scale investment.

It is in this context that the Investor Panel was established to provide advice to the Scottish Government on attracting mobile capital and investment to support government policy and the just transition to net zero.

The Panel makes clear that the scale of our ambition will require financial investment that is far greater than anything that has been accomplished to date. It is also clear that, as other countries follow a similar path, international competition to secure capital will intensify. The Panel's recommendations provide useful insights and expertise on how we might do that to position Scotland as an investor friendly destination of choice.



Back to top