Green Investment Bank: George Osborne goes missing

The Financial Times has been reporting this week again about the ongoing vigorous debate within government over the forthcoming Green Investment Bank and how much power it will have:

Nick Clegg is now the main driving force of the government’s “green investment bank” amid a Whitehall struggle over how precisely the new entity will function…

The Treasury is determined to hold back financing until the deficit is under control, towards the end of the current parliament. Officials have also argued for the bank to be a fund with little or no leverage.

As I mentioned previously, the debating lines over the Green Investment Bank are much more HM Treasury vs the rest rather than Conservative vs Liberal Democrats.

Curiously absent from the scene, however, is George Osborne who has acquired rather a reputation for avoiding taking direct hands-on interest in the issue. Instead, it is being left to Justine Greening MP and the Treasury special advisers, even when it comes to a key meeting. That would be normal if it were a low-level issue on which there is agreement. But when it has become a long-running major debate, you would expect the Chancellor to be directly involved in settling it. Yet, so far, he’s holding back.

All rather odd.


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