Published: 16:51 EDT, 25 September 2017 | Updated: 16:51 EDT, 25 September 2017
The newly privatised investment bank that was founded by the Government to develop renewable energy in the UK has quietly ditched this country.
A pledge to invest in Britain was scrubbed from the Green Investment Group’s (GIG) constitution on the day of its takeover by Australian investment bank Macquarie.
The Government sneaked in the change before handing control to independent trustees who would have had to vote on the matter.
It is believed the change was made in order to help the hotly opposed sale to Macquarie, which has made no secret of its plans to use the bank to invest heavily abroad.
But it has raised concerns that GIG now plans at the same time to invest less in the UK – harming the country’s efforts to embrace greener energy for which the bank was founded. GIG, however, rejects those concerns.
Doug Parr, policy director at Greenpeace UK, said: ‘The UK’s burgeoning green economy has likely already lost European Investment Bank funding, and if the Green Investment Group shifts its focus away from us too, we will need to work even harder than our competitors to ensure the green economy gets the finance it needs, and we secure the jobs that go with it.’
Before it was taken over by Macquarie, the stated ‘green objective’ of GIG, then known as the Green Investment Bank, included investing in projects that reduced greenhouse gases in the UK and protected the environment.
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‘It said the board would consider investing in projects ‘likely to contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the UK and globally’, but in articles of association filed at Companies House – which outlines the purpose of a firm – the UK has been removed from the wording.
GIG will now consider projects ‘likely to contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions globally’ – and a resolution outlining the changes was signed on behalf of Business Secretary Greg Clark on August 17.
When the £2.3billion sale to Macquarie closed in August, the Australian predator said the bank, which uses private funding, would remain one of the leading investors in green infrastructure in the UK and Europe ‘with added scope to further expand internationally’.
Macquarie, which was heavily criticised as owner of Thames Water, denied any change in focus away from the UK, pointing to an announcement earlier this month of a £38million investment in an energy-from-waste plant in West Yorkshire.
A Business Department spokesman said: ‘Ministers stated as far back as 2015 that Government ownership was holding back GIB’s ambition and that it was limited to operating within the UK.’
HT | The GWPF