The UK parliament's green watchdog, the Environmental Audit Committee, has warned that the proposed privatisation of the Green Investment Bank (GIB) should not go ahead if the government cannot ensure that the bank's green purpose is protected.
In a report, released on Saturday, the committee criticised the government for deciding to privatise GIB without due transparency, consultation or proper consideration of alternatives.
"The decision to privatise the Bank appears rushed and Ministers have not produced convincing evidence that it will achieve its aims better in the private sector," said the committee chair Huw Irranca-Davies.
The green watchdog says that the government's two proposed protections -- assurances sought from potential shareholders and the commercial case for retaining GIB's green purposes -- are not robust enough.
The committee further warns of two risks that cannot be avoided by just protecting GIB's green purposes. It is worried that the bank will move its focus away from the novel and complex projects it was founded to fund and that it could make investments that damage its reputation. The green purposes of GIB must not only be protected, but strengthened as well, the committee concludes.
The watchdog calls on the government to establish a special share to protect the green purposes and to examine the possibility of using this share's remit to safeguard GIB's wider green identity. If GIB is not privatised, it should be granted borrowing powers, the report says.
GIB was launched in November 2012 to accelerate the UK's transition to a greener economy.
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