Green Investment Bank

Oral Answers to Questions — Business, Innovation and Skills – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 24th October 2013.

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Photo of David Mowat David Mowat Conservative, Warrington South 9:30 am, 24th October 2013

What projects will be eligible for funding from the Green Investment Bank.

Photo of Vincent Cable Vincent Cable The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

The UK Green Investment Bank has a total of £3.8 billion of funding to finance green projects in sectors within its approved remit, and to date it has committed £714 million, including for waste recycling facilities, energy from waste plant, offshore wind farms and energy efficiency projects.

Photo of David Mowat David Mowat Conservative, Warrington South

I thank the Secretary of State. It is impressive how quickly the bank has got up and running. However, the scope envisaged during the Committee stage of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, and indeed in the Bill’s green purpose, included low-carbon industries such as the nuclear supply chain. I understand that that did not get EU state aid clearance. Are we going to appeal against that so that we can go back to the original mandate?

Photo of Vincent Cable Vincent Cable The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

The hon. Gentleman is right that European state aid restrictions mean that the sectors involved are narrowly defined, and I understand his concern for the nuclear industry supply chain. However, following the announcement of the new reactor this week, and the commitment by the companies involved to provide more than 50% of procurement to British companies, the nuclear supply chain has a really excellent future anyway.

Photo of Mark Lazarowicz Mark Lazarowicz Labour, Edinburgh North and Leith

The UK Green Investment Bank has indeed been a success so far and part of its success is in bringing in co-investors from the private sector for projects that it supports. Although I do not expect the Secretary of State to admit this, he will know that the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday of a review of green taxes has already thrown up uncertainty about long-term investment in the green economy. Does the Secretary of State recognise that if the Government are prepared to give long-term price guarantees to new nuclear, they should also give long-term security to the whole green economy?

Photo of Vincent Cable Vincent Cable The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his positive comments. He is absolutely right: for every £1 the UK Green Investment Bank puts in, something in the order of £4 of private funding goes in parallel with it. I agree that if we are going to get long-term investment in renewable energy there has to be stability in policy.