Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Nicola Sturgeon Unveils £500m Business Fund in Programme for Government

06/09/2016 - Nicola Sturgeon has unveiled a £500m fund to help Scottish businesses as she set out her government's plans for the next year.

Ms Sturgeon told MSPs at Holyrood that the move was an "exceptional response to an exceptional economic challenge".

She also insisted that education was the "defining mission" of the Scottish government.
Proposals to help close the attainment gap were among the 14 bills the Scottish government will introduce.

The plans include a Child Poverty Bill, which Ms Sturgeon said was arguably the government's most important legislation.
The bill would establish Scotland as the only part of the UK with statutory income targets on child poverty, and see a "baby box" given to every newborn.

But much of Ms Sturgeon's focus was on boosting the economy in the wake of the Brexit vote, with the first minister promising £4bn will be spent on infrastructure next year alongside the £500m Scottish Growth Scheme package of support for private businesses.

Ms Sturgeon said the growth scheme would offer individual investment guarantees, and some loans, of up to £5m to small and medium sized firms who would otherwise be unable to grow because of a lack of investment finance.

As financial guarantees, the support will not come from existing spending plans, and will instead see the Scottish government share some of the risk faced by small companies, when they make big investment decisions.

The first minister described the fund as a "half-billion pound vote of confidence in Scottish business, Scottish workers and the Scottish economy".

Ms Sturgeon's SNP formed a minority government after winning 63 seats in May's Scottish Parliament elections.

She told MSPS that Holyrood was operating in a "new political, economic and constitutional context" following the UK voting to leave the EU.

The first minister said the Scottish government would use its newly devolved powers over tax and welfare to adapt to those changes.

Source: BBC News

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