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MPs look to grill ministers over GIB sale

MPs have called on ministers and officials responsible for the proposed privatisation of the Green Investment Bank (GIB) to appear before them with assurances about the bank’s future independence.

Business sources say the GIB is lined up to be sold to the Australian bank Macquarie Group amid concerns of asset-stripping.

Despite frequent reassurances from the Government, including the creation of a ‘special share’, the GIB’s future as an environmentally focused body has been cast in fresh doubt in recent weeks following media reports that Macquarie was the preferred buyer.

In a debate on 11 January, business minister Nick Hurd said: “We have run a genuinely competitive process and we are now evaluating the proposals before us. What we want to hear are plans for a dynamic, ongoing concern seeking to mobilise more private capital into the green economy.”

Mary Creagh (pictured), chair of the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), has now issued a call for ministers and advisers to appear before her watchdog group.

“The GIB has had notable successes in investing in green energy infrastructure,” she said. “The EAC’s view is that the retention of the bank’s green identity should be the most important objective of any sale.”

She said new companies have been registered at Companies’ House ahead of the sale of the GIB, prompting concerns that this might lead to the bank being broken up.

“We have asked ministers and UK Government Investments to appear before the committee and assure us that the GIB will continue to exist as a standalone investor.”

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