Tuesday 25th October 2016                 Change text size:

Green Investment Bank ‘not a public service’

Lord Bridges of Headley

Cabinet Office Minister Lord Bridges of Headley (pictured) said today that he recognised that a Liberal Democrats’ amendment was intended to secure the Green Investment Bank’s obligations when it is privatised. He was responding to comments from Lib Dem spokeswoman Baroness Kramer, comparing the move to the privatisation of Royal Mail, which is regulated by Ofcom.

The UK’s “green” bank, which invests in environmentally-friendly infrastructure projects, is to be part-privatised.

Lord Bridges says Royal Mail provides a “public service or utility”, unlike the Green Investment Bank.

Shadow Treasury minister Lord Davies of Oldham says Labour is “not averse to the issue of privatising” the Green Investment Bank, but does not see the urgency to do so.

Debate now moves on to a Liberal Democrat amendment to require the Prudential Regulation Authority to “carry out its functions in a way that it considers will secure the provision of a ‘Green Investment Bank’ service”.

The government set up the Green Investment Bank to invest in projects connected to the “green economy”.

In June the Business Secretary Sajid Javid told the Green Investment Bank’s annual meeting he would start “exploring options” to bring in private investors. But critics called the sale “reckless” and questioned the government’s commitment to a low-carbon economy.

The bank, thought to be the first of its kind, has invested about £2bn of public money in about 50 projects.

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