The new European Structure and Investment Funding Programme (2014 – 20) sets out an obligation for Managing Authorities to look at the potential for developing and implementing Financial Instruments (FIs) as a mechanism to deliver against its Thematic Objectives and Investment Priorities.
The Scottish Government has recently published an ex-ante assessment of the key policy areas (aligned with the new OP, 2014-20) in which the suitability of FIs have been assessed:
- Improving SME Access to Finance: ‘Enhancing the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises’ and ‘Supporting the capacity of SMEs to grow in regional, national and international markets, and to engage in innovation processes’ – utilising FIs to improve the levels and type of finance available to Scotland’s SMEs. It addresses this through distinct areas in which FIs could be delivered: Lending including Microfinance; and Risk Capital.
- Digital: ‘Enhancing access to, and use and quality of, information and communication technologies’ and ‘Extending broadband deployment and the roll-out of high-speed networks and supporting the adoption of emerging technologies and networks for the digital economy’ – develop world-class broadband infrastructure ambitions in Glasgow and other urban areas, as set out in “Scotland’s Digital Future”3 .
- Low Carbon and Resource Efficiency: ‘Supporting the shift towards a low-carbon economy in all sectors’ and ‘Promoting research and innovation in, and adoption of, low-carbon technologies’ – the potential for using FIs in support of the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme.
A copy of the full report can be found here