Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian and a member of Holyrood’s economy committee, is renewing her call for reform of the banking sector as the committee publishes the conclusions of its inquiry into access to finance.

The inquiry heard that access to finance remains a top priority for Scottish businesses, with many SMEs unaware of alternative sources of finance such as crowd-funding and peer-to-peer lending.

Alison Johnstone said:

“The big five banks account for 90 per cent of the market. It’s clearly unhealthy, with the small businesses our economy relies on struggling to grow due to the lack of lending.

“We have a real opportunity to create new jobs and strengthen our economy if we prioritise this issue. I was surprised to learn that the Scottish Government has no plans for a survey of lending to SMEs, and I renew my call for ministers to look at the opportunity to turn publicly-owned RBS into a network of local banks.

“During the inquiry we also heard about Islamic banking, which has much to commend it with its commitment to ethical investment.

"Instead of tinkering at the edges of a failed model we should find a new way ahead that leaves behind the casino culture that is continuing to cause so much pain.”


Committee report

A local banking vision for Scottish RBS