Government announces £2.3bn sale of Green Investment Bank to Australian firm Macquarie

Posted On: 
20th April 2017

The Government has announced the £2.3bn sale of the Green Investment Bank to Australian bank Macquarie.

The Green Investment Bank funds renewable energy projects such as wind farms
Credit: 
PA

The bank was set up under the coalition government in 2012 to finance environmentally friendly investment projects in the UK.

Its sell-off had been expected to go through at the beginning of the year but was delayed due to wrangling over the final sale price.

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The £2.3bn involves £1.7bn from Macquarie itself and another £600m partly supplied by the Universities Superannuation Scheme, a pension fund for university staff.

Climate minister Nick Hurd said the deal meant the taxpayer had made a profit from investment in the GIB and it would “continue its green mission in the private sector”.

‘VULTURES’

But former ministers Vince Cable and Greg Barker have both warned that selling the GIB to Macquarie risked undermining its environmental ethos, while valuable assets could be sold off.

“It is clear that this could amount to a windfall of hundreds of millions of pounds to Macquarie, at the expense of the taxpayer,” the pair wrote to Business Secretary Greg Clark in February.

Former Green party leader Natalie Bennett said this morning the bank had been sold to “financial vultures”.

But Mr Hurd argued that the GIB would now “invest more into the green economy than ever before”, with £3bn of new investment targeted over the next three years.

In a written statement this morning, he said the bank’s green purpose would be maintained, with Macquarie publishing a series of commitments over the GIB’s future.

They include a “special share” held by five independent trustees who will be able to approve or reject changes to the bank’s core mission.