11. Other comments (Question 8)
This section outlines any additional comments or suggestions respondents had regarding the Bank, which were not captured through their answers to the previous questions. In the final question, respondents were asked, "Do you have any more comments about the establishment of the Bank?" There were no predefined answers to select so this was a fully open question.
271 respondents (68%) submitted general comments on the Bank spanning a wide range of issues, with 228 of these responses (84%) considered valid.
Responses varied greatly in their scope and commentary, but some themes did emerge. In general, responses were supportive of the proposal, and many respondents used this space to reiterate their support. Several respondents also recognised that the Bank had the potential to support greater economic growth across Scotland. Several responses also covered areas that were addressed earlier in this paper, and therefore, these have not been revisited in this section.
Each of the key themes are set out below, based on the frequency of response.
Many respondents took the opportunity to stress that the Bank needed to operate in the interests of the Scottish economy and invest in projects that were for the public good. This included a focus on renewable energy sources and other infrastructure. A number of responses also reiterated their position that the Bank should be a public body.
Opportunity for change
The prospect of the Bank delivering a step change in the investment landscape in Scotland was a recurring theme within responses to this question. Some respondents remarked that the Bank could have the potential for a different approach to investment in projects and infrastructure than in the commercial lending sector, and that this offered the chance of delivering real change to the economy.
Lack of clarity about the function of the Bank
It was clear from the responses that some of those engaging with the consultation were not clear on how the Bank was likely to operate. Some respondents wanted the Bank to accept public deposits, for example, also making reference to local branches of the Bank, confusing its function with that of a retail bank.
Other comments and suggestions for the Bank include:
- Helping in areas which have to date seen underinvestment, including geographic regions and economic sectors
- The need for strong oversight, to maintain confidence in its activities and to protect public investment
- There must be consideration as to how it will interact with existing agencies and bodies tasked with generating investment and economic growth. A small number of respondents wanted to ensure that remits do not overlap
- Several respondents reiterated their support for SMEs and housing development, two recurring policy intervention themes.
This section analyses the section of the consultation where respondents were provided the opportunity to provide any other relevant points on the Bank. Common themes were focused on the need for the Bank to operate in the interests of the Scottish economy and that the creation of the Bank should provide an opportunity for a step change in investment in Scotland. However, some respondents noted that they were not clear on how the Bank would function.