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Green Investment Bank

Volume 531: debated on Thursday 14 July 2011

Ministers will consider all submitted business cases for a potential location for the green investment bank. To date, London, Edinburgh and Bristol have made representations. However, others might wish to do so, and once state aid approval is granted, Ministers will choose a location that best enables the bank to fulfil its mission.

I thank the Minister for that reply. When the Secretary of State announced the bank in May, it was stated that there was a shortlist of the three locations that have been mentioned, two of which are capital cities. Further to the reply today, can the Minister confirm that the selection process will be based on rigorous and transparent criteria and that other towns and cities will be judged on their merits?

Absolutely—those three are merely early applicants, not a shortlist. All proposals will be considered on a fair and open basis.

I am sure that the Minister will understand the strong case for the bank to be based in Edinburgh, but will he confirm that the bank will not end up just taking up the cuts made elsewhere in Government expenditure? I was concerned by the earlier suggestion that wave power could be funded by the green investment bank. I hope that the bank will provide new, additional funding for greener industries and not just pick up slack elsewhere.

Indeed; we have trebled the amount that the Labour party originally proposed to £3 billion. So, yes, additional funds are very much in place.

Does my hon. Friend agree that, ideally, the home of the green investment bank will have a mix of commercial and ethical banking, a strong network of professional services firms, green non-governmental organisations, charities and sustainable businesses? That strongly suggests that the city of Bristol is the ideal home for the green investment bank.

Will the Minister identify the key criteria in the selection process for the green investment bank location?

I have just set out that, in fact, the process is under way for the rules and criteria. The location, which is obviously the issue at hand, is one that we will bear in mind when we see the business cases. The key issue is what will deliver the best result for the bank itself.