One of the most hotly debated privatisations of recent years has attracted fresh controversy after the Green Investment Bank’s trustees said they were “disappointed” by its weak investment in the UK since it left state hands. The clean power lender was sold to the Australian bank Macquarie in 2017 for £2.3bn and renamed the Green Investment Group (GIG), which widened its investment remit beyond the UK. The hasty privatisation of the lender, which had been set up only five years earlier to pump cash into renewable energy projects, caused a backlash at the time with critics warning that Macquarie would strip its assets. Ministers insisted on the creation of a board of trustees to ensure it stuck to its green mission, and to assuage concerns that investment in the UK would suffer and assets would be sold. However, in a recent letter, chairman of the trustees, Peter Young, said they were “disappointed by the relatively low UK investment levels”, even if there was the mitigation of a tough market. Trustees also demanded transparency from the bank after it pledged to bring in investment of £3bn between 2017 and 2020. The trustees said GIG had invested about £180m in the UK during the first seven months of Macquarie’s ownership, out of £450m invested across Europe. They added that GIG’s co-investment in Europe — where it attracts other backers — was about double its £169m UK co- investment.
Times 6th Jan 2019 read more »