Green Investment Bank

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:40 pm on 11th January 2017.

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Photo of Clive Lewis Clive Lewis Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 12:40 pm, 11th January 2017

I hope the Minister would agree that the GIB is a great British success story—he has already said as much—but let us put the record straight: it is also a Labour success story, having first appeared in our 2010 manifesto, and I am glad that the coalition Government took it up. If it is a success story, however, why are they selling it off? Is it simply a case of “public good, private bad”? That is what we think on the Opposition Benches, but Conservatives think it is “private good, public bad”. I am telling the House, quite simply, that from the assessment of Macquarie and what we have seen of it, we see that it has a history of asset stripping, so how exactly will the Minister protect this valuable public institution from having its assets sold off? That is a very fair question.

We know that the Government had planned to hold a share in the bank, which would have helped to maintain its green purposes, but new evidence has shown that Macquarie has already set up new companies that will control the GIB’s major assets. Will the Minister elaborate on the purpose of those companies and what oversight the Government will have of them once the sale goes through? The Prime Minister told us that the industrial strategy would be at the heart of her Government, yet the Government are now selling off an institution that has succeeded, from scratch and against the odds, in attracting capital for our green infrastructure on commercial lines. The Minister has already been outmanoeuvred by Macquarie bank and, frankly, we do not have much confidence that it will not happen again. Will the Government agree to stop the sale of the Green Investment Bank today until such time as its green purpose and core assets can be genuinely protected? If the Minister will not, does he accept that the GIB’s fate rests on his shoulders?