Privatisation of the Green Investment Bank March 2017
Thank you for contacting me recently regarding the proposed sale of the Green Investment Bank (GIB).
I agree with your concerns on this issue. The GIB, in public hands, has been a great British success story. It has funded innovative technology to fight climate change and created export opportunities for a decarbonising world. I agree that it can continue to maintain an important economic role, helping to drive innovation, green energy and infrastructure in the UK. I therefore believe that the Government should stop its proposed sale.
The green infrastructure that our future low-carbon economy will need requires patient, long-term investment. The Government states that sale of the GIB will enable it to access greater capital to invest in green infrastructure. However, the GIB is designed introduce initial high risk capital into research and development projects to encourage the green technology innovation we need. The Australian bank Macquarie, reportedly the Government's preferred bidder, has been charged with having no interest in this approach. I am therefore concerned that the market failure that the GIB has been fixing will remerge and the UK will lose out on the development of exportable green technologies.
A number of individuals and organisations, including the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, are worried that far from investing its own money in new green technologies, Macquarie is planning to break up the Bank and sell off its most profitable assets. Furthermore, the Government has confirmed that 11 new companies have been set up within the GIB, which would enable the quick sell off of these assets, so it would appear these fears may be justified. I am therefore concerned that the measures the Government has put in place will not be sufficient to protect the green purposes of the GIB, or to prevent the institution from being broken up and sold off.
I have therefore written to the Chancellor expressing my concerns with the privatisation of this institution, and particularly with Macquarie.
Thank you once again for contacting me and raising these important points. I believe the GIB will provide the greatest benefit to the taxpayer and to future generations by remaining in the public sector. I can therefore assure you that I will continue to monitor this issue.