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Scottish concern on GIB privatisation

The Scottish Government has urged Whitehall to offer further reassurances on the future of the Green Investment Bank (GIB) as it enters privatisation.

Economy secretary Keith Brown (pictured) wrote to the UK Government in December, expressing disappointment over an “unacceptable lack of communication” regarding the GIB’s privatisation.

Brown raised 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 financial rewards for new owners.

He also requested confirmation of a commitment from the former business secretary Sajid Javid in 2015 to protect 50 jobs supported at the GIB’s Edinburgh headquarters.

“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 GIB 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.”

Brown called on the UK Government for an update on the progress of privatisation and clarification that previous assurances are being adhered to.

A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy declined to comment.

They said: “This is a commercially sensitive process and therefore it is inappropriate for us to comment while the process is ongoing.”

The sale process began in March 2016 with a ’special share’, under which trustees would have to give consent if the GIB wanted to change its sustainability focus.

This share will be held by a newly incorporated organisation, the Green Purposes Company, run by trustees selected by an independent committee.

Nominated trustees were announced in November and they will be formally appointed when the GIB transfers to new ownership.

They include James Curran, the former chief executive of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and former Aldersgate Group chair Peter Young.

Readers' comments (1)

  • The GIB has not helped any real investment in the renewable industry as it has continued to assist incineration and gasification projects which have dubious records in their "green" credentials.

    The GIB has failed in its duty to assist other styles of investment opportunities that have better attainment criteria as a result.

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