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Green Investment Bank

Volume 524: debated on Wednesday 9 March 2011

9. What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on the operation of the green investment bank in Scotland. (44083)

I have regular discussions with the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on a wide range of issues, including the operation of the green investment bank. The green investment bank will support economic growth in all parts of the country and help us to meet our environmental objectives.

Like the north-east, Scotland has great wind resources, and we are looking forward to getting a return on all that wind. Does the Secretary of State agree that the delays to and downgrading of the green investment bank are preventing us from making the best of that asset?

First, as somebody whose constituency is not that far from Newcastle, I agree with the hon. Lady that we should appreciate all its wonderful characteristics, including its weather patterns. I agree that around the whole coast of the UK, we have much that we can exploit for renewable energy. On the specifics of the announcement on the green investment bank, we are taking the matter forward aggressively and she will hear further information announced very soon.

Does the Secretary of State agree that the green investment bank could open up tremendous potential for rebalancing the economy and creating a great many new jobs? For that to happen, it needs financial experience, research and development experience in the academic institutions and renewable energy experience, all of which are available in abundance in Scotland, and particularly in Edinburgh. It would therefore be a perfect location for the institution.

I commend my hon. Friend for his efforts to locate the green investment bank in Edinburgh. I welcomed the opportunity to meet him and the hon. Member for Edinburgh North and Leith (Mark Lazarowicz) recently to discuss that very issue. I and other Ministers look forward to hearing further details on the proposal in the near future.

When I asked the Secretary of State about the green investment bank in October, he said that he would make the best possible case for its location in Scotland, yet his Department has been forced to concede under freedom of information that he has had no correspondence with Department of Energy and Climate Change Ministers on the issue and that there are no notes of meetings with them about it. How is he actually pressing the case rather than just dealing in rhetoric?

I am aware of the hon. Gentleman’s commitment to freedom of information, and I am delighted to say that, as he knows from his time in the Scotland Office, those are not the only ways in which Ministers meet. I have had many conversations with the Secretaries of State for Energy and Climate Change and for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Deputy Prime Minister and others on the issue. Like the hon. Gentleman, I hope that my colleagues will support the case for the bank coming to Scotland.

Order. There is still far too much noise in the Chamber. It is very unfair on people asking questions and Ministers answering them.