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24/12/16 00:01

Green Investment Bank

Economy Secretary calls for clarity over GIB privatisation.

Cabinet Secretary for Economy Jobs and Fair Work, Keith Brown, has written to the UK Government to discuss concerns over the progress of the Green Investment Bank privatisation.

Mr Brown expressed concerns over reports that the completion of the transaction process will result in the complete break-up of the Bank’s current portfolio, and may result in an asset stripping exercise with significant financial rewards for any new owner. He also requested that the previous commitment to protect the 50 jobs supported at the Bank’s Edinburgh Headquarters was reconfirmed.

The Green Investment Bank ensures all parts of the United Kingdom have the opportunity to be at the forefront of technologies that contribute to our climate change ambitions and support opportunities for economic development.

Mr Brown said:

“I am extremely disappointed with the approach that the UK Government has adopted around the sale of the Green Investment Bank, which has been characterised by an unacceptable lack of communication throughout.

“In 2015 the then Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills gave assurances that he would work to protect the bank’s green purpose, as well as continuing to headquarter the Bank in Edinburgh, not only supporting 50 skilled jobs for Scotland’s capital, but also recognising Scotland’s place at the vanguard of the UK’s green economy.

“Since then I have been made aware of some concerning reports that the privatisation has become more of a fragmentation or asset stripping process which runs counter to the previous commitments made to the Scottish Government. This is deeply troubling considering the vital role that the Bank serves in our green economy.”

“The veiled manner in which privatisation is taking place offers no reassurance that the future of the Green Investment Bank is being modelled in line with the reassurances offered to the Scottish Government in 2015 which state that the original purpose of the bank would be maintained.

“The UK Government should update the Scottish Government on the progress of privatisation and provide clarification that previous assurances are being adhered to. I also want to be absolutely clear that the Scottish Government will voice any concerns and continue to apply pressure to ensure that our objectives remain a priority as part of the privatisation process.”