Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur today said the Scottish Government has moved the goalposts of the Scottish Growth Scheme as it was revealed there is no prospect of it delivering loans or guarantees to businesses.
At portfolio questions Mr McArthur pressed Finance Secretary Derek Mackay for an update of the progress being made by the scheme, with the Cabinet Secretary admitting that the only investment delivered or offered currently was in the form of equity - a pre-existing practice.
Previously ministers said they expected the scheme "to be largely in the form of guarantees to new and early-stage high growth potential companies, but if appropriate, loans may be offered"
Mr McArthur said:
“Well over a year ago the First Minister promised half a billion pounds of guarantees and loans to Scottish companies. Yet 14 months on not a single penny has been paid out in loans or guarantees so far.
"If the government is going to move the goalposts so far that it essentially abandoning its original flagship policy then the least it should do for Scottish business is be upfront about it. Equity funding is not what was promised.
"It begs the question why any business would have confidence in this scheme if, well over a year after it was announced, it is still not doing what was on the tin."