By Max Clarke
The Government’s Green Investment Bank must deliver certainty for investors if it is to generate the scale and pace of investment needed to shift the UK to a low-carbon economy.
Introduced by Chancellor Darling in the March 2010 Budget, the Bank was envisioned as a vehicle for attracting investment in Britain’s rapidly growing green market, in order to boost growth and hasten the nation’s economic recovery.
Speaking at a Climate Change Capital/Norton Rose event in London alongside Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, John Cridland, Director-General at major business organisation, the Confederation for British Industry (CBI), said the Green Investment Bank must deliver the certainty investors need to commit to low-carbon projects with a real timeline for delivery.
Mr Cridland said: “I want it delivering growth — large-scale, mainstream economic growth. I want it delivering the low-carbon infrastructure, leveraging the £450bn we need by 2025, that’ll bring jobs and opportunities to the UK.
“Investors want certainty. The GIB must have teeth if it’s going to deliver our new infrastructure.”
The CBI's views are matched by other commentators, including the Environmental Audit Committee, who said that financial autonomy and the ability to raise their own capital like a conventional bank were keys to its success.
Mr Cridland warned that the Bank “certainly won’t work if it needs the Treasury’s permission to blow its nose. The bank needs to be able to get into the markets itself and do what it’s intended to do.
“And it won’t give investors certainty if it’s not enshrined in law so I welcome the Deputy Prime Minister’s decision on that.”
Mr Cridland, however, cautioned the limiting effect of separating the green economy from mainstream business. “By compartmentalising green business we diminish it,” said he. “Because this is an issue that matters to us all, not just a few specialists. We see it as part of the puzzle for fixing the whole economy.”