MPs launch green finance inquiry

Select committee inquiry will examine clean growth strategy and the Green Investment Group (formerly the GIB)

A group of MPs are to examine the government’s strategy on green finance and how the Green Investment Group can fulfil its commitments made by its new owners.

The environmental audit select committee has today (24 November) announced the details of its new inquiry, which will examine a series of issues, around the government’s strategy to develop “world-leading” green finance capabilities.

Among the issues the inquiry will consider is whether the Green Investment Group (formerly the Green Investment Bank) is fulfilling commitments made by its new owners, the Macquarie Group.

The government completed the bank’s sale in August for £2.3 billion to a consortium of investors led by Macquarie.

In response to feats about its future raised by the committee, ministers created a “special share” to protect its green purposes.

That share is held by the Green Purposes Company with five independent trustees, who have the power to approve or reject any changes to the bank’s purposes in the future.

Macquaire has committed to the bank’s target of leading £3 billion of investment over the next three years, although it has also announced the bank will now operate under the name Green Investment Group to overcome certain legal and regulatory barriers.

At the time, the sale was criticised by the co-leader of the Green Party, Jonathan Bartley, who argued it was bad news for “everyone who cares about the future of renewable energy”.

The inquiry will also examine the government’s clean growth strategy, which was published in October and how it will accelerate clean growth.

It will also consider the UK’s future relationship with the European Investment Bank and the crossover between the UK’s newly-created Green Finance Taskforce and the EU High Level Group on Sustainable Finance.

“The UK needs billions of pounds of public and private investment to decarbonise the economy and upgrade our transport, energy and industrial infrastructure,” said committee chair, Mary Creagh.

“The government says it wants to be a global leader in green finance,” she added. “We will scrutinise its plans in the clean growth strategy, look at the Bank of England’s proposals on disclosure of climate-related financial risk, and examine what will happen to UK climate investment if we leave the European Investment Bank.”

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