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Treasury trolls undermine Green Investment Bank

[ 22 May, '11 ]

Treasury officials continue to undermine efforts to build a powerful and effective green public bank, according to Transform UK, who founded the campaign for the Green Investment Bank.

Treasury trolls undermine

Green Investment Bank

 

For immediate release:  20th May 2011

 

Treasury officials continue to undermine efforts to build a powerful and effective green public bank, according to Transform UK, who founded the campaign for the Green Investment Bank.

 

Transform UK has discovered that the Treasury is seeking to prevent legislation to set up the bank next year, trying to restrain its borrowing powers and attempting to prevent operational independence in its early stages.  The Government is due to announce the design plans for the Green Investment Bank early next week and inter-departmental negotiations are going down to the wire.

 

Legislation to set up the Green Investment Bank is considered critical by the Transform UK alliance of investors, charities and business groups, as well as the CBI, because it would give the institution permanence and operational independence, raising investor confidence.  The Treasury is opposed to legislation however, fearful of creating a more enduring institution.

 

The Treasury, who managed to get a delay on GIB borrowing to at least 2015 announced in the Budget in March are now trying to weaken the borrowing powers further. They are refusing to give the Green Investment Bank explicit powers to borrow from the capital markets.  Instead they want it only presented as an option, arguing that it is far more preferable for the GIB to borrow from the Treasury only, which Ed Matthew, Director of Transform UK, believes would result in “Green Bank suicide”. 

 

He added: “If the Green Investment Bank can only borrow from the Treasury it will never borrow.  It would make it the only public bank that cannot borrow from the capital markets – it would be the joke bank of the investment world.  And that is exactly what the Treasury wants – they are determined to kill it.”

 

The Treasury have also insisted that before the GIB is fully established, the embryonic Bank should be controlled by civil servants, rejecting calls  for a ‘shadow board’ to be set up this year to give it operational independence from the start.

 

Ed Matthew said: “If Treasury civil servants are given control over the final design of this institution there is a risk they will design it to fail. After all they have done everything in their power to sabotage it over the last year. They are Treasury trolls who see investment in tackling climate change only as a cost. By undermining one of the most important solutions for addressing climate change they are posing a clear and present threat to our national security.”

 

For more information and a Media Briefing on the forthcoming Green Investment Bank announcement please contact:

 

Ed Matthew – Director, Transform UK, E3G

Tel: 07827 157906

Email:  ed.matthew@e3g.org

Website:  www.transformuk.org

 

 

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£450 billion is required in energy investment by 2025 but traditional investors can only deliver £50 to 80 billion. This leaves an energy finance gap of up to £400 billion