£500m support for private sector firms

Nicola Sturgeon

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Tuesday unveiled a new £500 million package of financial support for private sector business investment as she set out plans to increase economic growth in her “Programme for Government.”

The three-year Scottish Growth Scheme will involve “individual investment guarantees” and loans of up to £5 million will be available to small and medium sized firms.

The scheme will be open to new and early-stage high growth potential companies, with clear export growth plans, particularly in technology-intensive sectors and businesses in emerging markets, such as financial technology (FinTech).

The announcement came as the First Minister also revealed which capital investment schemes will benefit from £100 million of accelerated capital spending in this financial year.

Sturgeon also announced moves to deliver on the Scottish Government’s commitment to 100% superfast broadband and establish a National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland.

She also confirmed £290 million worth of European Structural Funds projects for Scotland which with partner funding will deliver a total investment of £650 million.

The packages for business came as part of wide-ranging legislative programme that will see 14 bills introduced.

Four of the bills will be introduced as a result of new powers devolved to the Scottish Parliament including a Social Security Bill to establish a social security agency.

“The proposal for a Scottish Growth Fund is an exceptional response to an exceptional economic challenge,” said Sturgeon.

“This is a half-billion pound vote of confidence in Scottish business, Scottish workers and the Scottish economy.

“We are determined to build an economy where everyone has a fair chance to contribute to growth, and where everyone can share in the benefits of growth.”