Scottish Government welcomes decision to site Green Investment Bank in Edinburgh

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By a Newsnet reporter

The SNP has today welcomed the announcement that the Green Investment Bank (GIB) will be headquartered in Edinburgh.  The bank, designed to spur private sector investment in low-carbon projects, will have offices in Edinburgh and London, the UK government said on Thursday.

Making the announcement, Vince Cable, the Secretary for Business Skills and Innovation, said that GIB will be located in Edinburgh, with its main transaction team based in London to enable a greater commercial reach nationally than could be achieved from one location.

Mr Cable said:  “Edinburgh has a thriving green sector and respected expertise in areas such as asset management. London, as the world’s leading financial centre, will ensure that the GIB’s transaction team can hit the ground running.”

The bank is expected to employ 50 to 70 full-time staff across the two sites.  Funded with with £3 billion of public money it will assist companies to finance early-stage renewable energy schemes.

First Minister Alex Salmond said: “I am delighted Edinburgh has been chosen on its merits as the headquarters for the Green Investment Bank.

“The decision recognises Scotland’s position at the vanguard of the renewables revolution and follows an excellent and professional bid campaign.

“It is great news for Edinburgh’s economy and for Scotland’s thriving low carbon sector.”

Marco Biagi, SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central and member of the Cross-Party Group in the Scottish Parliament on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, said the decision was recognition of the strength of Edinburgh’s financial sector as well as the fast growing renewables industry in Scotland.

Mr Biagi said: “It is only fitting that the Green Investment Bank will be based here in Edinburgh.  Given Scotland’s massive renewable resources and the financial services based in our capital city and elsewhere, Edinburgh has been rightly recognised as the best location for the Green Investment Bank HQ.

“Scotland is making huge progress in developing our renewables potential and supporting our important oil and gas sector where we can.  That is in contrast to the UK Government taking them for ‘granted’ as Vince Cable pointed out just this week.

“Edinburgh has won this decision on merit and thanks to a first class campaign.  An exceptional network of financiers, academics and government agencies are all at the heart of the green energy revolution that is bringing in hundreds of millions of pounds of investment as well as thousands of jobs to communities across Scotland.

“This decision is a marker on Scotland’s recognition as a world leader in renewable energy and the Scottish Government’s agreement to use £103 million of Scotland’s fossil fuel levy to support the capitalisation of the Green Investment Bank.  This is a good return on Scotland’s investment.

“Renewable energy is a long-term investment with long-term returns and I am proud that the SNP is so committed to utilising our natural resources as a means to a more prosperous Scotland.”

SNP Member of the European Parliament Alyn Smith also welcomed the announcement, saying: “This is the right decision, and is good news for Scotland.

“Edinburgh was one of 19 cities in the running to site the headquarters of the bank. The GIB will set up with £3bn of public money to help firms finance early-stage renewable energy schemes.  Climate change is bigger than any one country and it is right that the EU is in turn also committing real cash to real projects.  Scotland has a natural comparative advantage in renewables, finance and green tech, so it is only natural that the Bank should be based in Edinburgh and work across borders to encourage projects.

“We had a uniquely compelling case to site the bank in Edinburgh; Scotland has a unique mix of natural resource, cutting edge research and practical engineering expertise.  International heavyweight companies are already active in the sector and our human social geography means you can get everyone into one room and collaboration is natural.”