Perhaps a better name, now that it has been taken over by Australian money-grubbers Macquarie, would be ‘Bank of Asset-Stripping, Turpitude* And Recondite** Debt’.
Unfortunately the acronym spells out ‘Bastard’. Some may think that’s about right.
There certainly seems to be a certain lack of moral rectitude about the sale.
The minority Tory government’s press release states that “new owner Macquarie has committed to the GIB’s target of leading £3 billion of investment in green energy projects over next 3 years”.
Only £3 billion? The GIB ploughed more than £5 billion worth of investment into green projects in its first two years of existence. Isn’t it supposed to be increasing investment, rather than cutting it?
The press release continues: “The Climate Change and Industry Minister, Claire Perry, confirmed [on 18 August 2017] that the sale of the Green Investment Bank (GIB) to Macquarie Group Limited has now been completed”.
And how nice it is to see Macquarie confirmed as the buyer. Back in January, the Tories refused to admit that Macquarie was the preferred bidder, citing “commercial sensitivity”.
This was at a time when Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said that “Macquarie not only has a dismal and terrible environmental record, it also has an appalling track record of asset-stripping… This selling off could lead to the bank being fatally undermined as an enduring institution”.
We were told at the time that the Green Investment Bank was set up with £3.8 billion of government (meaning our) money, but the Tory press release states: “The £2.3 billion deal ensures that all the taxpayer funding invested in GIBsince its creation, including set-up costs, has been returned with a gain of approximately £186 million.”
It continues: “The sale proceeds of £1.75 billion, which has [sic] now been received, sees all taxpayer funding invested in GIG returned with a gain of around £186 million. This, together with over £500 million of current outstanding commitments which will now be met by Macquarie and its partners rather than taxpayers, means that the transaction value is around £2.3 billion.”
Something can’t be right because the total is £1.5 billion short of the original investment.
The Tories seem to want us to believe that only £1.565 billion of our money was put into the Green Investment Bank. What about the rest of it?
And, even if the claim of £186 million profit is to be believed, that would account for less than half of the £447 million debt the UK racks up every day under Conservative economic mismanagement. That money has already gone.
It seems likely that the bank will be stripped of at least some of its assets by Macquarie – and the Tories knew about this. In January, former Energy minister Nick Hurd (son of Douglas; it must be nice to have your entry into Parliament ensured by your parentage) said he was unopposed to the sale of assets: “Let’s not get into a position where we say holding on to assets is good in itself.”
But selling them for the sake of selling them is just as bad, isn’t it?
These are probably just some of the reasons the Tories were keen to distract us all from the sale – by crying about the fact that Big Ben, the famous bell in the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster, has been taken out of action for four years, while restoration work takes place.
So what? It won’t be gone forever – which is more than can be said for the Conservative Party’s commitment to the environment.
*It means ‘corruption’.
**It means ‘concealed’.
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