THE government revealed yesterday that it has begun the process of selling its majority stake in the Green Investment Bank to profiteers.
Business Secretary Sajid Javid plans to bring private capital into the bank, which was launched in an effort to kick-start green infrastructure projects three years ago using £2 billion in taxpayer funds.
Among the 50 initial investments was a £236 million loan to build and operate the Rampion windfarm off the coast of Brighton, £2.5m to replace sheltered housing boilers and a £6.3m initiative to install low-energy street light bulbs throughout Glasgow.
The bank “has shown that investment in green technologies can be a profitable business,” Mr Javid is expected to declare at the bank’s annual review in London today.
Opponents attacked the decision as irresponsible and short-sighted.
Brighton Pavilion Green MP Caroline Lucas said: “The government’s rash and irresponsible plan to sell off a large chunk of the Green Investment Bank calls into question their commitment to investing in a low-carbon economy.
“At precisely the time when we should be leading the world in the fight against climate change our government appears to be in retreat.”
Ms Lucas urged the government to keep at least a majority stake in the bank.
Thinktank E3G said a sell-off would be “reckless,” would damage investor confidence and dilute the bank’s purpose in the war against climate change.
Chief executive Nick Mabey said: “Privatisation threatens to destroy investor confidence which in turn will damage both energy security and the British economy.”