1. Introduction and background
The Scottish Government's 2017/18 Programme for Government contained a commitment to establish a Scottish National Investment Bank to support infrastructure investment, help companies grow and support our economic vision.
The Bank is expected to build upon the existing work of Scotland's enterprise agencies and other Scottish Government bodies, addressing challenges within the Scottish economy, including restricted access to finance and the lack of providers of strategic, patient capital.
The proposal for such a bank follows international practice, with a range of other developed countries using national investment banks to provide cornerstone equity and debt financing, as well as engage in market-shaping activity, designed to support economic growth.
The Scottish Government appointed Benny Higgins, CEO of Tesco Bank, to develop a full Implementation Plan for the Bank and fulfil the Terms of Reference set for this work (see https://beta.gov.scot/publications/national-investment-bank-implementation-plan-terms-of-reference/).
About the consultation exercise
In order to inform this Implementation Plan, the Scottish Government launched a short and focussed consultation on the Bank's possible remit and structure on 20 October 2017. The consultation paper provided an overview of the consultation process and how responses could be returned.
This consultation received 1,108 responses. This comprised 753 responses as part of a campaign from Friends of the Earth Scotland and a further 44 responses from other organisations, with the remainder (311) of responses from individuals before it closed on 20 November 2017.
The consultation contained the following questions, in a mix of open and closed format.
- Question 1: What are the top three areas of intervention where you think the Bank can have the greatest impact on sustainable economic growth?
- Question 2: Which of these financial instruments might have the greatest impact in addressing your chosen areas of intervention?
- Question 3: In terms of existing international models, is there a particular example that you think is appropriate for Scotland and why?
- Question 4: Do you think that the Bank should have explicit regional mandates within Scotland, to address specific regional issues and/or to contribute towards greater economic cohesion?
- Question 5: Bearing in mind the potential cost implications, what should the Bank do?
- Question 6: How do you think the Bank should act?
- Question 7: Are there particular issues on governance and the operational model, including issues such as public/private classification that you think would strengthen, or constrain, the Bank's ability to deliver on its mission?
- Question 8: Do you have any more comments about the establishment of the Bank?
The Scottish Government engaged EY to analyse the responses to the consultation. This document sets out an analysis of these consultation responses, and aims to document the full range of views expressed, rather than identify how many people held particular opinions.
As will be seen in section 2, this consultation attracted a large number of responses. However, it is important to bear in mind that, by their very nature, public consultations are not necessarily representative of the views of the wider population. Anyone can submit their views, and individuals (and/ or organisations) who have a keen interest in a topic – and the capacity to respond – are more likely to participate in a consultation than those who do not. This self-selection means that the views of the consultation respondents cannot be generalised to the wider population.
The consultation contained a mix of open and closed questions so the analysis contains a mix of quantitative and qualitative analysis. Its main purpose is to understand the full range of views expressed. In analysing the qualitative submissions, the following methodology was adopted to give the reader an expectation regarding the scale of responses:
- A small number of respondents indicates fewer than 10 responses
- Some respondents indicates 10 to 20 responses
- Several respondents indicates 20 to 30 responses
- Many respondents indicates 30 to 40 responses
- A significant number of respondents indicates in excess of 40 responses
Section 2 presents information about the respondents and the type of responses received. Section 3 provides an overview of the responses and the main findings of the consultation are set out in sections 4 – 11.