Former Liberal British business minister Vince Cable has warned his Tory successor that the UK government’s plan to sell-off of the Edinburgh-based Green Investment Bank will mean taxpayers could lose out on a massive potential windfall.
Privatisation will almost inevitably mean that the bank will relocate its head office (if not its brass-plaque ‘registered office’ to London) – along with 50 of the highest-paid civil servant jobs in Scotland.
In a letter to his successor as Business Secretary, Cable – who is credited with creating the Green Investment Bank – and former Tory Energy Minister Greg (now Lord) Baker, said:
“‘The GIB has been investing in the construction phase of a range of high-value infrastructure assets over the past few years. A number of these assets are still under construction and are not yet operational.
“Once these assets have completed construction – and are thereby de-risked – those same assets will be worth significantly more than they are now.
“While it is not possible to calculate the exact amount without detailed information on two of the offshore wind assets currently under construction, it is clear that this could amount to a windfall of hundreds of millions of pounds to Macquarrie <considered to be the lead bidder> at the expense of the taxpayer.
‘It will therefore be Macquarie rather than the taxpayer that benefits from this significant value uplift.’
Two of GIB’s main assets are the Rampion and Galloper wind farms being built off Sussex and Suffolk, due to be finished in 2018. GIB has committed £306 million for Rampion and £119 million for Galloper.
And earlier this week, both Centrica and Siemens Project Ventures disposed of their shares in the Lincs project – the former’s having an estimated enterprise value of £487 million – to subsidiaries of UK Green Investment Bank Financial Services and the UK Green Investment Bank plc.
A spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: ‘Any decisions on the sale of the Green Investment Bank will be driven by what best achieves our objectives, including continued investment in the green economy and a sale which is in the best interests of the taxpayer.
‘This is a commercially sensitive process and it is inappropriate for us to comment further while that process is ongoing.’
See also: –
Scot-Govt. in struggle to retain Green Investment Bank HQ jobs in Edinburgh