George Osborne said today he hoped to outline structural details of the government’s green investment bank before Christmas, insisting that he wanted to “get it right” to ensure it was a success.
The chancellor told the Treasury select committee that the bank will be set up “as soon as possible”, as he insisted that the planned business model was now at an advanced stage. The bank is expected to help fund clean energy projects such as windfarms.
The chancellor shed a little more light on the planned green investment bank as he gave evidence on his spending review in a two–hour session with MPs.
Stewart Hosie, MP for Dundee East, suggested to the chancellor that the green investment bank may not be up and running until 2013 or 2014, prompting Osborne to say he expected it would be operational before then. “I want it to get up and running as soon as possible,” he said.
He said the government was in the process of trying to find the best business model to leverage private sector money, without which he said the project would effectively fail.
He told MPs there was no “off the shelf” business model that could be picked up by the UK government. Osborne told the cross-party panel of MPs that the £1bn earmarked for the bank in the spending review was a “backstop”.
He has also set his sights on a share of the receipts from future asset sales. Last month, the climate and energy secretary, Chris Huhne, told the Guardian he was considering selling off the UK’s stake in a uranium enrichment company that could raise around £1bn, though no decision has been taken.
But Osborne said the crunch would be securing private money, which was the “whole purpose” of the bank.