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Chamber and committees

Economy and Fair Work Committee

Economic recovery - Follow-up from the evidence session

Letter to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and and Economy - 01 October 2021

Dear Kate,

Thank you for attending the Economy and Fair Work Committee meeting this week. I am sorry it was in such circumstances and I wish you a speedy recovery.

There were a small number of issues that the Committee did not raise with you and we agreed to follow-up by correspondence.

You indicated that the UK Government appears committed to continuing Financial Transactions however we discussed the significant reduction in Financial Transactions in the budget for 2021-22. Previous assumptions were that the capitalisation of the Scottish National Investment Bank beyond March 2021 would be from future financial transactions. If insufficient Financial Transactions are forthcoming what other sources of capital will fund SNIB and will sourcing this capital be at the expense of other portfolio areas? And can you advise when you anticipate SNIB being issued with a fair work direction.

Scottish Enterprise has highlighted that reduced Financial Transactions will impact its ability to support the early stage investment market. How is the Scottish Government working with Scottish Enterprise to resolve this? And on the arrangements between Scottish Enterprise and SNIB, specifically activity transfer, the Committee would be grateful for an update and clarification on whether early stage capital activity is still intended to transfer to SNIB.

On broadband, can you confirm the following R100 procurement figures:

Central-lot procurement will connect 32,216 premises, 96% to be FTTP with completion by 2023-24

South-lot procurement will connect 20,740 premises all of which will be FTTP with completion by 2024-25.

Prior to the updated Speed and Coverage Template remodelling, it was anticipated approximately 90,000 premises would be within scope of the North-lot. Following remodelling, how many premises will be connected via the North-lot procurement?

Finally, your recent letter to the Committee provided an update on the uptake of the Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme. Is uptake and demand as expected? How many of the vouchers requested to date have been eligible for the additional £250 for those in hardest-to-reach areas? What are the main technologies that the voucher scheme has covered so far?

I would be grateful to receive a response by 15 October.

Kind regards

Claire Baker MSP