Labour is opposed to the proposed sale of the Green Investment Bank (GIB) and has been pressing the government to make its plans clear. 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. It can continue to maintain an important economic role, helping to drive innovation, green energy and infrastructure in the UK and therefore the government should stop its proposed sale.
I took part in the Urgent Question on the government’s proposed sale of the Green Investment Bank, which you can read here.
The green infrastructure that our future low-carbon economy will need requires patient, long-term investment. The government states that the 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 market failure that the GIB was created to address could re-emerge and the UK 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 the preferred bidder will 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 to enable the quick sell off of these assets, so it would appear these fears may be justified. The measures the government has put in place may not be sufficient to protect the green purposes of the GIB, or prevent the institution from being broken up and sold off.
Labour believes the GIB will provide the greatest benefit to the taxpayer and to future generations by remaining in the public sector.