Green bank 'should get start up fund'

Businesses and environmental groups have grouped together to call for initial funding of up to £6 billion for the promised green investment bank, to boost the economy and create jobs. 

 Plans to set up the bank, which aims to unlock investment in low carbon industry and technology, formed part of the coalition agreement - but there are now fears it could be hit by cuts to Government spending set to be unveiled next month.

A statement released by businesses, MPs, green groups and other organisations said the bank needed capital totalling £4bn to £6 billion - which could be a combination of public and private funding - over the next four years.

The funding could leverage more than £100 billion in investment from the private sector, and was the minimum required to ensure the bank helps make the UK a world leader in developing low carbon technologies.

The statement also calls for the bank to prioritise ensuring investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency, including supporting the ‘green deal’ to make homes more energy efficient, and to issue green bonds and ISAs to tap into private capital.

The call comes from a wide range of businesses including BT, F&C Investments, PepsiCo, Microsoft and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, as well as the City of London, the TUC, the Institution of Civil Engineers and environmental groups such as Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and WWF.

Peter Young, chairman of the Aldersgate Group, one of the co-organisers of the statement, said the spending review could not just be about budget cuts.

"We also need to restore growth and build a more resilient economy for the future. To achieve this, the green investment bank must be at the heart of the economic recovery, re-powering the economy and creating valuable green jobs throughout the UK where they are most needed."

Ed Matthew, director of the alliance Transform UK, which is campaigning to boost investment in low carbon energy said: "The green investment bank has the potential to leverage billions of private investment into the low carbon economy.

"Low capitalisation will damage any chance of a low carbon recovery. And when it comes to stimulating an industrial resurgence for the UK, the truth is we know they have no plan B."

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