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RTPI says new Scottish investment bank should help unlock housing sites

Words: Roger Milne
The Scottish National Investment Bank could unlock sites earmarked for development / iStock-91520933

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has launched a public consultation on the remit of the proposed Scottish National Investment Bank, which the administration wants to spearhead a 'new approach' on capital investment. RTPI Scotland is arguing that the bank’s activities are aligned with planning priorities.

The new entity is planned to be an important means to deliver infrastructure development, finance for high-growth businesses, and strategic investments in innovation.

RTPI Scotland has welcomed the initiative. Kate Houghton, planning policy and practice officer, RTPI Scotland, said: “The principle of a National Investment Bank is very welcome, but it will be critical to ensure that it is properly embedded in the network of national strategies and spending plans that already exist.

“We would want to see the bank support the implementation of the National Planning Framework and strategic development plans (or their replacement), helping to unlock sites earmarked for development that will support the inclusive growth and housing delivery that Scotland needs."

Already, leading economists have suggested that Scotland’s economy could be transformed for the better through large-scale investment by the bank in the infrastructure needed to transition to a low-carbon economy.

That’s the view shared by Lord Adair Turner and Professor Mariana Mazzucato. Lord Turner is chair of the Energy Transitions Commission and the Institute for New Economic Thinking and was formerly chair of both the Financial Services Authority and UK Committee on Climate Change. Mazzucato is a member of Scotland’s Council of Economic Advisers.

Lord Turner said: “All economies need to make an energy transition to accelerate change towards low-carbon systems, and our Energy Transition Commission has looked at how to make that happen. It will need a joined-up public policy framework, and I am pleased to see that emerging in Scotland, and a big shift in patterns of investment.”

The consultation can be found on the Scottish Government website.

Image credit | iStock