The first minister has said the proposed Scottish National Investment Bank can be “transformational” for the economy.
Nicola Sturgeon said the bank would support businesses of all sizes and could invest in infrastructure projects.
She was speaking to delegates at the Scottish Council for Development and Industry’s annual forum. The outline for the new bank was published at the end of February and the Scottish government is expected to report this month on a more detailed implementation plan.
“This will be genuinely transformational for the economy and society,” Ms Sturgeon said. “It can become a cornerstone of the low carbon and high productivity economy we all want to see.”
She pledged to continue investing in helping companies to innovate as well as to grow their international sales. She also reiterated the government’s commitment to opening a Scottish investment centre in Paris to promote international trade. That would follow on from outlets in London, Dublin and Berlin which have opened since the Brexit referendum.
Robert “Woody” Johnson, America’s ambassador to Britain, told the meeting there were more than 600 US companies operating in Scotland and collectively they employed almost 100,000 people. Mr Johnson, 71, is the great grandson of one of the founders of Johnson & Johnson, the pharmaceutical, consumer goods and medical devices group. He said that after Brexit, President Trump had “made it pretty clear we want a free trade deal and want to get it going pretty quickly”.