MPs urge protection for privatised Green Investment Bank

21st December 2015


Related Topics

Related tags

  • Generation ,
  • Renewable ,
  • Management/saving ,
  • Business & Industry

Author

Colin Malcolm Harris

The Green Investment Bank (GIB) must not be privatised unless its environmental objectives are protected and strengthened, a cross-party group of MPs has said.

Publishing its report on the future of the GIB, the parliamentary environmental audit committee said the decision to privatise the bank appeared rushed and claimed ministers have not provided convincing evidence the bank will achieve its aims better in the private sector.

The MPs criticised the lack of transparency shown by the government in its decision to privatise the GIB and called for the publication by the business department of the business case for the sale, including impact assessments, before proceeding.

"The government is currently relying on assurances from potential shareholders and the commercial case for retaining the GIB's green purposes. That is not robust enough," said Huw Irranca-Davies, chair of the committee.

The MPs are concerned that a privatised bank could move its focus away from novel and complex projects that struggle to find funding in favour of easier, more commercial projects. They are also worried that a privatised GIB could invest in areas that may damage its reputation and undermine its leadership in the green economy.

The government should also provide an evaluation of whether a phased approach involving alternative options for the recapitalization of the bank would be possible. The MPs said this would allow for greater consultation, transparency and market testing on the form of any eventual privatisation.

If the sale does go ahead, the government should retain a minority stake in it to demonstrate its commitment to the green economy, the committee said. If the GIB is not privatised, it should be granted borrowing powers, it added.

The environmental audit committee also announced a new inquiry into the role of the Treasury in sustainability. Two key questions it is asking are:

  • Is the Treasury playing a constructive role in development and implementation of government policies to protect the environment and respond to climate change?
  • Is it taking adequate account of long-term environmental factors when analysing budgets?

The committee also wants to assess the Treasury's understanding of the relationship between environment policy and growth, and to what extent it has evaluated the business case for increasing investment in environment and low-carbon goods and services in the UK.

All evidence should be submitted to the committee by 18 February 2016.

Several other select committee reports were published last week as parliament rose for recess. These include:

  • The environment, food and rural affairs committee said in a report that the environment department (Defra) needed to ensure it had robust policies and adequately funded programmes to tackle air and water pollution. Defra needs to minimise the risk of huge fines from the EU, which would remove money from delivery of services, it said. Incurring large fines at a time of reduced budgets is "completely unacceptable", the committee said, adding that it had received "only the barest details" from Defra as to how it would continue to provide services given the 15% budget cuts it faces over the next four years.
  • The House of Lords EU committee published a report on EU energy governance. It recommended the introduction of a monitoring and enforcement mechanism to ensure that the EU's renewable energy target for 2030 is met and that effort is shared equitably between member states. It added that the UK government needed to be clearer about its own long-term renewable energy strategy to provide confidence to investors.
  • The energy and climate change committee published a report on its priorities for 2015-20. The committee said it wants to influence the government's long-term approach to meeting climate targets, which includes international action following the Paris agreement and delivering a robust fifth carbon budget and associated carbon plan. Next year's work will focus on the UK's climate change targets and scrutiny of the government's approach to decarbonising heat and transport.

Subscribe

Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.


Transform articles

IEMA reviews political party manifestos

Ahead of the UK general election next month, IEMA has analysed the Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, and Green Party manifestos in relation to the sustainability agenda.

19th June 2024

Read more

Sarah Spencer on the clear case for stronger partnerships between farmers and renewable energy developers

6th June 2024

Read more

A system-level review is needed to deliver a large-scale programme of retrofit for existing buildings. Failure to do so will risk missing net-zero targets, argues Amanda Williams

31st May 2024

Read more

Chris Seekings reports from a webinar helping sustainability professionals to use standards effectively

31st May 2024

Read more

Although many organisations focus on scope 1 and 2 emissions, it is vital to factor in scope 3 emissions and use their footprint to drive business change

31st May 2024

Read more

Joe Nisbet explores the challenges and opportunities of delivering marine net gain through offshore renewables

31st May 2024

Read more

IEMA submits response to the Future Homes Standard consultation

31st May 2024

Read more

Hello and welcome to the June/July of Transform.

31st May 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close