MPs issue Green Investment Bank warning

A group of MPs have warned the warned the Government plans to privatise the Green Investment Bank (GIB) must not go ahead unless Ministers can protect its green objectives.

In a report published today, the Environmental Audit Committee criticized the Government’s decision to privatize the GIB, which appears to have been taken without due transparency or proper consideration of alternatives. 

The report says that the Government has not put robust enough safeguards in place to protect GIB’s green purposes.

And the committee has called on the Government to establish a special share to protect GIB’s green purposes and retain a minority stake in the institution.

“The Government is currently relying on assurances from potential shareholders and the commercial case for retaining the Green Investment Bank’s green purposes,” said Committee Chair, Huw Irranca-Davies.

“That is not robust enough. The Government must ensure the Green Investment Bank continues to do what it says on the tin. If the Government cannot guarantee that the Green Investment Bank will retain its green purpose in the private sector then the sale should not go ahead.”

Before proceeding with the sale of the GIB, the Environmental Audit Committee says the Government must publish a business case and all impact assessments related to the sale. 

“We need a Green Investment Bank that has the freedom to operate in ways that conventional commercial banks cannot,” said Mr Irranca-Davies.

“The green purposes of GIB must not only be properly protected – they should be strengthened. The Government should retain a minority stake in the Bank to ensure its long- term strength and demonstrate the UK’s commitment to the green economy following the Paris climate agreement.”

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government and energy issues