From the TUC

Green Investment Bank goes for Royal Assent

07 Mar 2013, by in Environment

We have set up the Green Investment Bank in law! The Green Investment Bank provisions in the Enterprise Bill will soon get Royal Assent. It’s a remarkable achievement for the broad alliance  that has campaigned solidly for the operational independence of the GIB, giving it a clear Green Mandate, financial powers and permanence for the institution. The TUC will debate the role GIB can play in boosting the UK’s green infrastructure at our After Austerity seminar on 15 April.

Ed Matthew, who led the campaign, reports that the Government introduced an amendment last week to strengthen the Green Mandate.  There is now a legal duty for the overall investments of the GIB to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The board will also have to report on how well they have met this duty. And of course the amendment also makes it impossible for the GIB to be converted in the future into a high carbon infrastructure bank.

We did not persuade the Government to make a link between the GIB and the Climate Change Committee but this may be for another day.

The campaign’s borrowing amendment, giving the bank the power to borrow from 2015, was voted on in the House of Lords and defeated by 18 votes. It was supported and put to a vote by Labour, a signal that this could emerge as a manifesto commitment in the lead up to the election.

We also managed to get a commitment from the Government in Parliament that the GIB would be allowed to borrow from the capital markets in the future. This had never been stated on the record before, it had only been presented as an option.  Evidently, the Treasury was obliged to agree to this concession. We also got a commitment on the record that the Government would put in a state aid application before the election asking for EC permission for the GIB to borrow.

So – we now have the world’s first dedicated Green Investment Bank up and running. It’s true that its green portfolio is dwarfed by the huge annual “green” investment provided through other national banks such as the KfW in Germany.  But ours is now set up in legislation.

The TUC’s panel debate on growing the green economy is on Monday April 15th from 2.00– 4.00pm at Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS. This is the fifth event in our ‘After Austerity’ series.

The event panel will comprise Conservative peer and Commercial Secretary to the Treasury Lord Deighton, Emma Howard Boyd of Jupiter Asset Management representing the voice of investors, corporate director at Siemens UK Energy Sector Mike Rolls and the TUC’s General Secretary Frances O’Grady. The discussion will be chaired by Matthew Spencer, Director at the Green Alliance think tank.