A NEW Scottish National Investment Bank will provide £2 billion worth of investment in the next decade, the Economy Secretary Keith Brown told MSPs.

He told the Scottish Parliament that a bill will be brought forward in 2019 to establish and capitalise the bank, following a consultation.

Brown said the planned bank could potentially transform the economy to enable Scotland to become “fairer and more prosperous”.

There was consensus among the parties in Holyrood on the need for the institution.

And there was support, too, for Tory calls to make the “role and objectives of the bank” to clearer.

Brown told MSPs the Cabinet had agreed to accept all recommendations contained in an implementation plan drawn up by former Tesco Bank chief Benny Higgins.

Brown said the Scottish Government would provide the bank with an average of £200 million a year of capital for a decade.

This, the minister argued, would enable it to focus on investment not currently provided by the market.

He also said the bank would be set up as a public body, but will operate on a commercial basis, with a strong ethical focus.

Although it will have priorities set by ministers, and the board, the chairperson and non-executive members appointed by ministers, Brown insisted it would still be independent from government.

The bank will be expected to provide strategic and patient capital, and “substantial financing for major projects which support regeneration and communities”, as well as “investment in new ideas, to help meet key economic, environmental and social challenges”.

Brown said: “I believe that a publicly owned investment bank will become a cornerstone of the economy we want to create in Scotland.

“It also has the potential to be truly transformative, operating under a core set of principles and missions, supporting sustainable growth and bringing benefits to individuals and communities across the country, making Scotland in the process a fairer and more prosperous country.”

Tory MSP Dean Lockhart said investment banks could improve economic performance as part of a clear framework to support businesses.

He said: “Our concern is this clarity, alignment and support for business has been absent from SNP economic policy for a number of years.”

“We support many of the objectives behind the bank but the Scottish Government must address the issues we have raised today if it expects our support for these proposals in the future.”

Labour’s Jackie Baillie welcomed the “imminent” start-up date for the bank, saying she had counted nine separate announcements over a number of years.

She added: “Having waited this long I would at least have expected the plans to be slightly bolder and more ambitious.”

Baillie said the money being put into the bank was “quite timid”, adding: “Now is the time, surely, for radical decisive action.

“Our economy is stagnating, the truth is we are flirting with recession.”

Baillie added: “Scottish Labour would invest £20bn over the same period in the Scottish Investment Bank, 10 times the amount proposed by the Scottish Government.”

Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie also stressed the need to “kick-start the economy” but warned against a repeat of “Scottish Enterprise giving Amazon millions of pounds and turning a blind eye to the needs of its workers”.

Green MSP Andy Wightman said the new bank could play a vital role in funding affordable housing developments.