I am delighted to have secured this debate on one of the Government’s flagship commitments: the establishment of the green investment bank. I shall focus in particular on the Leeds city region bid to host the bank’s headquarters.
As you are in the Chair, Mr Deputy Speaker, it would be remiss of me not to point out that this coming Saturday the Leeds city region’s Elland Road ground will host the final of the four nations rugby league tournament, following the sensational performance by the England team against New Zealand in Hull in Yorkshire and the Humber, and I want to put it on the record that the Leeds Rhino players made a wonderful contribution to that victory.
The Leeds city region has an extremely strong case to be the home of the GIB. It is being established to provide an infrastructure for a green economy with sustainable long-term growth. That will involve unprecedented investment in green economics. Operating at arm’s length from the Government, it will bring together cross-sector financial, economic and environmental expertise with private capital and investment. The GIB is one of the most exciting policy ideas in the coalition agreement, but it must deliver on the bold vision laid out for it, including the task to innovate and to challenge—to do things differently.
The GIB is a big opportunity for the Leeds city region, and for Yorkshire and the Humber as a whole. It presents an opportunity to showcase the unique mix of expertise, infrastructure and communication links in the region. It is also an opportunity for the Government to show they are serious about innovating, regenerating and doing things differently.
The Deputy Prime Minister has said:
“For years, our prosperity has been pinned on financial wizardry in London’s square mile, with other sectors and other regions left behind. That imbalance left us hugely exposed when the banking crisis hit...It’s time to correct that imbalance. We need to spread growth across the whole country, and across all sectors.”
If that does not suggest that the GIB should be located not only outside London, but in a region where there is real power to harness, innovate and regenerate, I do not know what does.