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Green Investment Bank sale under fire

Words: Huw Morris

Environmentalists and a former climate change secretary have lambasted the government’s sale of the Green Investment Bank (GIB).

The GIB, set up by the government to fund renewable and low carbon projects five years ago, has been sold off for £2.3 billion.

Macquarie Bank, an Australian lender, has bought the GIB which has invested around £800 million a year so far.

Climate change and industry minister Nick Hurd said the GIB had been “very successful in attracting private capital to the UK’s green economy” and that it now has a new owner “with a track record of success in green investment”. However the sale came immediately under fire.

“At a time when the government should be shoring up the low-carbon industry for post-Brexit Britain, they have given away one of our key tools for advancing green technologies,” said Greenpeace policy director Doug Parr.

“The hole left by the GIB will slow our transition to a clean energy system, set us back on reaching our climate targets, and mean more of the jobs from new sectors will go elsewhere."

Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat who was energy and climate change secretary in the coalition government, accused the government of rushing through the sale ahead of June’s general election. “Selling the GIB is environmentally irresponsible, and on the eve of an election is politically dubious,” he said.

“The government clearly hopes to avoid parliamentary scrutiny.”

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