Peter Aldous calls for a pause on the sale of the Green Investment Bank and for the Government to retain a 25% stake so that the Government can hold the bank to its central mission of mobilising investment in the UK’s green economy.
It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Owen, and I congratulate the hon. Member for Edinburgh West (Michelle Thomson) on securing the debate; her timing is spot on. I entirely support the principle of privatising the Green Investment Bank, but that needs to take place on terms that are in the whole country’s best interests, and on a basis that will maximise the leveraging of investment in this very important sector.
The Green Investment Bank is a success story. Since its launch in 2013, it has leveraged £10 billion worth of projects from a £2.8 billion public stake, playing a particularly important role in the offshore wind sector. It successfully kick-started the Galloper wind farm off the Suffolk coast, securing external investment for a project that will bring jobs both to Waveney and across East Anglia.
Since the sale process started a year ago, times have changed. We are now in a very different world and it is appropriate to pause and to consider whether the sale is taking place on terms that are in the best national interest. Brexit has led to a refocus on the UK’s industrial strategy, with the publication on Monday of the Government’s Green Paper. The pillars of the strategy include the need to upgrade infrastructure; to deliver affordable energy and clean growth; to drive growth throughout the country; and to rebalance the economy. The Green Investment Bank has played a leading role in all those areas, and it is important that it continues to do so, in particular as complementary investment from the European Investment Bank is, as we heard, almost certain to disappear completely.
When the Government circulated the bid documents last year, two possible options were suggested: a full privatisation and the retention of a 25% stake. The latter course should be pursued, because it would be more valuable for the bank, for UK plc and for the taxpayer. The stake would help to target important infrastructure spending; it would enable the Government to hold the bank to its mission of mobilising investment in the UK’s green economy and of maximising its green impacts; and, moreover, that sector of the economy is dynamic and entrepreneurial, so the stake is highly likely to increase in value. In summary—I have been very brief—in a short period of two years the Green Investment Bank has brought great benefits to the UK, and it is vital to the future of the country as a whole that it continues to do so.
Waveney District Council is conducting a Community Governance Review (CGR) for Lowestoft and the surrounding area and a Final Proposal has been published. Residents can use the Lowestoft CGR online consultation form to give their final comments on the proposal until 31 October 2016.
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