I welcome the moves to deliver a Scottish National Investment Bank, and am calling on the Scottish Government to commit to ensuring that the bank serves all of Scotland’s communities, especially rural communities like my South Scotland region, and all sectors of Scotland’s economy.
The Scottish National Investment Bank should be inclusive of a variety of ownership models: municipal, public, community and co-operative. As a Scottish Co-operative Party MSP my view is that part of the Scottish National Investment Bank’s remit should be to support the expansion of the co-operative, mutual and social enterprise sector through the provision of patient capital.
The role of Co-operative Development Scotland could be enhanced so that it operates as a champion of the co-operative and mutual sector and feeds into the Scottish National Investment Bank. There could even be an annual report on investment in the co-operative sector by the Scottish National Investment Bank.
Support for businesses that put money back into the local economy should be a priority. Despite the crucial role that the social, co-operative and SME sectors play in the economy, they face a number of barriers to growth, including difficulty in getting investment from high street lenders and the high cost of credit.
The Scottish National Investment Bank can and must put a strong focus on helping those co-operatives, mutuals and other organisations that experience such barriers.
I will be doing all that I can to ensure that the Scottish National Investment Bank serves the needs of my constituents in South Scotland and serves the interests of the important co-operative sector in Scotland.