26 September 2019

Speaking in the Scottish National Investment Bank debate this afternoon, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said:

"The people of this country do not simply want a residual state which is reactive, which steps in only at the point of market failure.

"We need a different allocation of resources than would simply be delivered by the market.

"That is what the establishment of a Scottish National Investment Bank should be about.

"So the purpose of the Bank that we must create with this legislation cannot simply be about the best rate of financial return and the best rate of financial return alone.

"It must be ethical.

"It must take account of the strategic interests of the wider economy, like the urgent need to tackle climate change.

"It must be empowered to help build a more equal and a more democratic economy too.

"It must be on the side of the people - because we live in an economy, which is too often unjust, which is in too many areas inefficient.

“We need to re-balance the economy and tackle the highly centralised UK economy. We will not solve every problem in the Scottish economy with this Bill and the establishment of a Scottish National Investment Bank.

"And we need to make sure that this is not another Government proposal overflowing with spin but underwhelming with substance.

“But this Bill is a starting point and we can improve on it.

"We can establish a Bank which is accountable.

"We can establish a Bank that has clear objects whose overarching aim is to build the economy from the bottom up.

“We can establish one that is financing the just transition from a carbon based to a non-carbon based economy, that is promoting democratic forms of ownership, including co-operatives and employee ownership.

"And we can establish one where the right voices and values sit at the heart of it, not just at the start but for the long term by building this in to the legislation.”
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