The Scottish Government has received assurances from Whitehall that the Green Investment Bank (GIB)’s importance to the country will be considered as it enters privatisation.
Scotland’s cabinet secretary for economy, jobs and fair work, Keith Brown, met UK business minister Nick Hurd after Australian investment firm Macquarie Group was reported to be the preferred buyer for the bank.
Brown said he pressed for greater transparency around the privatisation process and confirmation that the GIB will continue to be headquartered in Edinburgh, where 55 people are employed.
According to Brown, Hurd vowed to improve communications between the UK and Scottish Governments around the sale, and “acknowledged the strategic importance of the GIB for Scotland”.
It does not appear Brown got the assurances he wanted on the bank’s HQ because he pledged to continue pressing the matter.
“I have reaffirmed my determination to ensure that these roles are protected at a similar standing and scale as the present arrangement so that we can continue to drive forward the green agenda, promote future growth and create more jobs both within the organisation and the wider sector.
“This is the right thing to do, not only because Scotland already has the pool of expertise needed to support the bank, but also because it is symbolic of Scotland’s role as a leader within the green energy sector.”
In December, Brown wrote to the UK Government expressing disappointment over an “unacceptable lack of communication” regarding the GIB’s privatisation.
He feared completion of the sale process would result in the break-up of the GIB’s portfolio and would be an ”asset-stripping exercise” by the new owner.