“while business wants to keep up the pace, they are equally clear that the government’s current approach is missing the mark, with policy uncertainty, complexity and the lack of a holistic strategy damaging investment prospects.”
In Committee, when we discussed the green investment bank and its borrowing powers, I said that we had thought long and hard about the issue. At the time the then Minister, the hon. Member for North Norfolk, said:
“The Government have also committed that the Bank will borrow from April 2015”,
although he then qualified that by using the stock phrase
However, given the Government’s failures in relation to its own borrowing targets, that commitment is so far from being achieved as to be virtually meaningless. would contend that a deficit reduction plan without an accompanying growth and employment programme is no deficit reduction plan at all.
Ours is one of only two G20 countries in recession. In March, the Office for Budget Responsibility reported that the Government might meet their debt target by the skin of their teeth, but since then borrowing figures have been significantly higher than forecast. The deficit is now going up—borrowing is now going up; it has increased by 22% so far this year, as a direct result of this Government’s policies. Citigroup forecasts that the Treasury may have to borrow £48 billion more than it originally forecast by 2015-16, meaning that the Chancellor’s key fiscal target of having public sector net debt falling as a proportion of GDP by 2015 will not be reached. It is widely anticipated that the Chancellor, in his autumn statement to be held in winter, will have to carry out a humiliating climbdown from that important target of his, based largely on his misguided economic policies.
Where does that leave the green investment bank? At a time when our potential as a leading market for green business is under threat, both from intense overseas competition and from uncertainty from this Government, what impact does this failure of fiscal policy by the Chancellor have on this growth area? That is the context behind our amendment 76. We want the green investment bank to be able to provide a stimulus for growth in our economy as soon as possible, but we are equally mindful of the double-dip recession that the Chancellor’s policies have inflicted on the country. Our amendment would ensure that state aid approval on the green investment bank’s borrowing power would be sought and achieved no later than
Our amendment proposes that the bank must be able to begin borrowing by April 2015 or, if that is not achievable, Parliament must be provided with a clear and alternative date as to when such borrowing may be permitted, based both on OBR forecasts regarding the state of the public finances and on advice from the green investment bank on the need for borrowing powers to achieve its objectives.