THE UK Government is attempting to “stymie” the launch of the new Scottish National Investment Bank, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has warned.

The Scottish minister said it was still on track to open this time next year, but that the Treasury had so far failed to give the new bank permission to carry money over between financial years.

This could be done “at the stroke of a pen”, Mackay said, as he urged the Treasury to “let us get on with the job”.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced plans to set up the Scottish National Investment Bank in 2017, to help more businesses access the funding they need.

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But speaking at the SNP conference in Aberdeen, Mackay said: “For the Scottish National Investment Bank to operate effectively, we require a Treasury permission to carry money between financial years, as you would expect of a bank.

“With the stroke of a pen, the Treasury could give that permission, resolve the issue, and allow our bank to progress, but so far they have refused.”

He called on the UK Government to “stop stymieing the building of the bank, and let us get on with the job”.

Elsewhere at conference, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said Scots are choosing to reject the “lies and division” of populists in favour of backing independence.

Swinney said that people across the country are “holding fast to the values of truth, integrity and honesty”.

Delivering a rebuke to US President Donald Trump and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Swinney said the campaign for independence would walk a road of tolerance and persuasion in winning over No voters.

He said: “Johnson and Trump choose lies and division. We choose to live as though in the first days of a new nation. They choose fear, we choose hope and we will win. We will win our independence, and our better nation.”