Dr Cable’s loss making banks

Dr Vince Cable as Business Secretary in the Coalition government set up and financed two new banks using taxpayers money. The Green Investment Bank rushed to invest in the green bonanza, using heavily subsidised taxpayer cash to invest in taxpayer and energy customer subsidised green businesses. The British business bank is available for more general finance for business.

So far the Green Bank has been given £975 million of taxpayers money as capital, and the British business bank £664 million. If taxpayers had just used that to repay some debt, we would have saved around £50 m of interest a year. So how much did these two banks between them earn in profits in their last reported years?

Unfortunately, instead of making us more than the £50 m we could have saved they managed to lose £20 million between them! They paid the taxpayer no interest or dividends on the capital put up. They paid for lots of salaries, some expensive property to trade from, made various loans.  The Green Investment Bank formed a joint venture with the Department for Climate Change to spend some money on green investments abroad, helping competitors overseas.

Neither bank is regulated by the PRA or the FCA in the way all private sector banks are. So now we know the answer to what do you do with £1.6bn to make sure you don’t make any money on it? You give it to a couple of government banks set up by Dr Cable.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

84 Comments

  1. oldtimer
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    It confirms what has been repeatedly demonstrated in the past. Governments are clueless when it comes to running businesses. What they should focus on is creating the environment in which people, businesses and society at large can all flourish. Losing money on ill-thought through ventures is not the way to do that.

    • waramess
      Posted September 3, 2015 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      Ah yes, but they all know how to spend other peoples money and they do it in spades.

      With a very few exceptions they are either individuals who failed in the outside world or never set foot in it.

      What sets them apart from the rest is they all retain a huge ego notwithstanding cock up’s and we continue to mallow them a free reign to do as they wish.

      I fear Mr Cables folley may prove to be rather less financialy damaging however than HS2 and the partnership with the private sector in building hospitals and schools for example, so maybe we should instead laud Mr Cable for keeping his folley on the low side.

  2. Know-Dice
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Vince Cable was a real disappointment, he cost my children thousands on an undelivered promise. Too often his lefty legacy showed through as bad policies.

    You only have to follow the Lib Dem rhetoric today to see that they are quite willing to give away everything we have to those claiming to be legitimate migrants. They have an “open door” policy for the country, I wonder how many will have an 2open door” to their own homes?

  3. Shieldsman
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    What can one say, only that if we elect ‘the green’ idiots to govern what can we expect.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 3, 2015 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      Idiotic greens are hard to avoid in politics. Although lots of them still drive round Jaguars or similar and fly hundreds of thousands of miles PA.

      Do as I say not as I do seems to be the green loons motto.

  4. ChrisS
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    How many more loony LibDem schemes are going to emerge from the woodwork over the next few years ?

    Mind you, this debacle pales into total insignificance when compared with the billions being wasted subsidising renewable energy schemes, particularly in Scotland. Instead of “renewables” we should perhaps start a trend by always referring to such energy sources “undependables.”

    Back to Cable’s banks : when will politicians learn that interfering in businesses they know nothing about will always end in expensive failure ?

    After all, the commercial banks themselves have frequently demonstrated that they are more than capable of making a complete mess of things haven’t they ?

  5. Old Albion
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    I do not claim to understand the workings of high finance. But a loss of £20m is peanuts.
    We give away £50m every day to the EU.

    • Hefner
      Posted September 4, 2015 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      And how much will be lost by the tax-payer through all the brilliantly thought through Public-Private Initiative contracts, such a bright idea of our Conservative / Labour friends? All those written-up thanks to blurry eyed politicians by public servants, which private companies refinanced within less than 10 years at lower interest rates, but which Joe Tax-payer will go on paying for at the initially defined rate during the full initially defined 35 years.

      And now our Conservative masters want to decrease even further the role of the State, so that the private sector will be able to write the contracts.

  6. formula57
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    The losses at those banks are disappointing as are some of their activities but the amounts for now at least look trivial against the newly knighted Dr. Cable’s other great triumph, the sell off too cheaply of Royal Mail.

    Can we look forward to both banks being disbanded and the remaining capital applied with better purpose?

    • Bob
      Posted September 3, 2015 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      @formula57

      “Can we look forward to both banks being disbanded and the remaining capital applied with better purpose?”

      Think of all the non-job losses!

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Indeed tax borrow and piss down the drain yet again. It is not their money so what do they care if it produces no return. Especially is it is “invested” in their wages and pensions. Vince cable was wrong on nearly every issue (just as one would expect of a LibDim). I read that in the past he acted as an economic advisor to Kenya so it is not just the UK that had to suffer.

    It was interesting to read the other day how little economic sense upgrading roof insulation, cavity wall insulation, double glazing, PV etc. actually make. This despite the exaggerated claims of the salesmen. Often saving totally trivial sums relative to the costs of installation. One cannot help but think the government is hugely to blame this huge mis-selling of greencrap to the gullible with all their green crap grants and loans..

    Also to see at first hand and read in the Spectator today, of the complete mess the green (people ed)and the Mayor have made (and are still making worse) of Bristol. The UK ‘s first European, Greencap Capital it seems.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 3, 2015 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      I imagine they have a nice expensive office somewhere perhaps with lots of green walls and solar PV perhaps? Does anyone know?

      • Hefner
        Posted September 4, 2015 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

        Interesting to see that all the “green crap” seems to make sense over there.
        Maybe up north, they have MPs of a much higher calibre (less parochial, certainly), and some more clever people overall?

  8. bert young
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Banking and the mistakes made should have flashed a red light to Vince Cable . I had always regarded his background in economics and sensible observations while in opposition as evidence that he would be sensible with his feet on the ground when appointed Business Secretary ; the post today shows how wrong I was .

    Once again the inadequacy of expertise and supervision by Central Government is illustrated by enormous losses . We have to put a stop to this and only embark on innovative investments when outside independent experts are retained .

  9. Iain Gill
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Wow I see the BBC has gone into full throttle pro-immigration propaganda mode, across all channels. Not the slightest bit of impartiality. Full on ridicule of anyone holding the counter view. No respect at all for the majority view of the British population who they have decided to ignore again, as they try to redefine political correctness to include even more support for open doors immigration. Are we really paying for this?
    As much as I have sympathy for genuine refugees I also have sympathy for our own children being brought up in sink estates, where exactly is the hard hitting journalism trying to attract support for them?

    • Bob
      Posted September 3, 2015 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      @Iain Gill

      “even more support for open doors immigration”

      Exactly what is required under The Coudenhove-Kalergi Plan.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 3, 2015 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Indeed and the BBC approach will, of course, encourage many more to risk their lives.

      The BBC are always about raw emotion rather than logic & reason.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted September 3, 2015 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

        The clear majority will of the British people is to reduce immigration drastically in all its forms. To fight against that, especially on the public purse, is not much different to treason in my view. This is not democracy.

    • Mark
      Posted September 3, 2015 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      There is also a very large amount of misinformation as a consequence of highly selective reporting and poor standards of research by journalists.

    • DaveM
      Posted September 3, 2015 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      Iain,

      Your sentence “As much as I have sympathy for genuine refugees I also have sympathy for our own children being brought up in sink estates, etc?”

      I’m going to give a different reason for feeling sympathy for our children and their children.

      My grandparents’ generation left us peace in Europe and laid down their lives to do so.

      My parents’ generation left us with a viable and realistic recovery from the depressions of the 50s and 60s.

      This generation has no choice over what it does because career politicians dictate everything, and therefore is going to leave……wait for it……refugee camps in England, terrorism always a real possibility on our streets, no control over our political destiny or foreign policy, student debts, a massive deficit, a landscape covered in useless wind turbines, no fishing or farming industry, a hugely depleted armed forces, police with no power due to PC nonsense, etc. They’re going to curse us to hell and back. What have they done to deserve the current crop of utterly useless politicians? Nothing. I just hope they haven’t been totally nullified and brainwashed by the leftist education agenda and have more balls to stand up for themselves and fight back than the current middle class sheeple have.

    • DaveM
      Posted September 3, 2015 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      Iain, yes the impartiality is completely non-existent. Just when I thought they were getting better, I don’t remember seeing bias like it on BBC News, either anti-Hungarian or pro-EU. Propaganda, pure and simple.

      Massively Off Topic, I saw the Chinese celebrating the US-Russian victory over Japan. Has anyone here spent any significant amount of time in China? Do the Chinese genuinely believe it was the Mao-led army which actually won that war?

    • Ken Moore
      Posted September 4, 2015 at 12:26 am | Permalink

      Agreed, I’m personally sick to the back teeth of listening to well paid middle class BBC types living in affluent areas telling the poor working class they need to accept more migrants in their areas.
      Wilmslow and Kensington aren’t going to be taking many Syrian refugees – it will be Glasgow, Hull, Dagenham etc. that have to pay for Mr Cameron’s politically correct posturing.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted September 4, 2015 at 8:09 am | Permalink

        Absolutely, and we have shown we are incapable of looking after our own poor and needy – we need to sort that out first before anything else.

        Lets see a migrant camp set up at Chipping Norton.

  10. alan jutson
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    As I have said many, many times.

    Politicians are part of the problem, too often not part of the solution.

    Had Cable done absolutely nothing, we would have been £20,000,000 better off.

    I see the Press are now reporting Mr Clegg wanted to slow down the drive to get Foreign Aid up to 0.7% of GDP, but Mr Cameron simply wanted to plough on with this wasteful and ill-considered spending spree.

    Once again we have Mr Cameron at the head of spending, throwing money, and huge amounts of it, into areas where there is little control.

    I Guarantee both Mr Cable and Mr Cameron do not spend their own money like this.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 3, 2015 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      There care not what they spend nor what value (if any) they get. This as is not their money and they are not benefiting (one hopes not anyway).

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 5, 2015 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      Far more than £20M better off, as this loss (of £20M) impacts on the productive (who pick up the bill) this then renders them far less competitive in the world.

      You might well have to multiply that by 20 or even 100 to get the true damage.

  11. Mitchel
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Totally predictable.Soviet-lite minds like Dr Cable learnt nothing from the obvious failure of similar exercises back in the 6os and 70s;so,I presume,they did not want to learn.

  12. Lifelogic
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    This was of course done under Cameron and Osborne’s coalition. Are they proud of all this greencrap waste too. They are still pissing money down the drain in tax payer grants for insane PV on fields and building, for on and offshore wind and other complete economic nonsense.

  13. agricola
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Thinking that you were still taking breakfast I created my own topic for today, only to discover on return to your page that you had finished your cornflakes. Let us then go with the ex business secretary who I believe is now safely ensconced in the Lords.

    If you create a bank dedicated to support an untenable thesis with a left wing zealot at it’s head, what do you expect. How long before Jeremy Corbyn gets the Bank of England.

    Investigation, were it allowed, may conclude that banks run by people who know nothing about banking are likely to fail. It is why HMRC is a shambles, run by people that believe that you only need to be expert in leadership , not at the task in hand. I suspect that theoretical management without knowledge is rife throughout government.

    The whole green industry that sprang up in the shadow of the Business Secretary has fallen apart. Not surprising ,but very damaging to those who have tried to run a real business within it. Are this government to continue to allow the large energy providers to continue collecting a green tax that was meant to pay for all the energy saving schemes that no longer exist. Though Vince Cable is what he is, neither banker nor industrialist, he cannot be held solely to blame. Where is your leader, who allowed his excesses, in the great scheme of things. Does he still have his domestic windmill and is his sledge well oiled.

    There is an old adage. If you have never run a successful business, why not teach others how to do it, or even better write a book on the subject. I would add to it, from the unbounded largesse of government, create an all time financial catastrophe, and hence to the House of Lords.

  14. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Only £1.6 billion? Chicken feed, when the government can always get the Bank of England to create more money for it to spend, and has already done that with £200 billion under Darling and another £175 billion under Osborne. Oh, and that “money-go-round” was also outside any normal regulation, like these banks, thanks to a short statutory instrument slipped past Parliament in early 2009 without any debate let alone a vote.

  15. fedupsoutherner
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    And look where the Green Investment Bank and all the other Climate Change crap has got us.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/11840388/Eggborough-coal-plant-closure-worsens-UK-power-crunch.html

    When is this government going to come up with a sensible concrete plan for energy provision for this country? This is lunacy. Just where is the power for our future going to come from? No wonder Germany is building 20 new coal fired power stations. What are we doing? Still throwing money at foreign subsidised renewables that just don’t cut the mustard. Just how many real experts without vested interests does it take to deliver the message to Cameron? I never thought I would see the day when I would be so disappointed in a party voted in with a majority. No LibDimmers to blame for the fiasco now.

  16. agricola
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    EU Borders

    Before you had finished your cornflakes this was my chosen subject for debate.

    There would seem to be a reluctant acceptance in Austria, Hungary, Germany, Greece, and Italy that the Shengen Agreement, allowing free travel within the EU, has been stretched beyond it’s limit.

    That the majority fleeing Syria are taking understandable action to preserve their lives is not questioned. However I would suggest that it is beyond the capacity of the EU to accept the biblical exodus from the Middle East and Africa. As we know in the UK it is more likely to create division than to heal it.

    I have argued that these people need a safe haven in Africa or the Middle East. As no one is prepared to consider creating a new Liberia I believe the time has come to regain control of a Middle East country such as Syria. This would have the advantage of destroying ISIL and creating a country to which these fleeing masses could return in safety.

    To achieve it , for instance in Syria, the USA, UK, EU, and Russia need to agree to go in there , eliminate ISIL, and create that safe haven. The first and major task is to agree on how the country should be run and by whom well before putting soldiers boots on the ground. How about reducing Assad to that of nominal head of state, like the post ww2 Emperor of Japan, but with a General Mc Arthur administration in place for some years until self government is possible. The alternative is to change the character of Europe beyond the recognition of it’s present population and risk the fire flaring within our own house.

    • DaveM
      Posted September 3, 2015 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      “USA, UK, EU, and Russia”… Agricola, sorry, for a minute there I thought you put “EU” in that sentence.

    • alan jutson
      Posted September 3, 2015 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      Agricola

      Agree with the thrust of your argument.

      Surely the United Nations should be the organisation which takes ownership of this problem, is this sort of problem not the reason it was set up in the first place !

      Surely the UN talking shop can come up with at least a sensible solution which will protect people in/nearer to their own homeland.

      Whilst I would not want Britain to get involved with this on their own, or even just with the USA, I would be sympathetic to us being involved with a whole coalition of UN members, if it was under the UN Flag.

      It gives me no pleasure to say this, but this disaster is I am afraid the lesson you get taught when you interfere and encourage regime change in foreign lands.

      People movement is one thing, Population movement is huge and much greater problem, which cannot be solved simply by taking refugees.

      I see various EU governments are trying to Highlight and minimise our so called contribution to this crisis by quoting just one years net figure for refugees, and completely ignoring the £Billions we have spent on foreign aid (the second biggest donation in the World to this region) over many years to try and help those in the most dire need.

      The EU leaders are now starting to think Nationalistic, if that continues. then the EU will eventually implode.

    • waramess
      Posted September 3, 2015 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      Shades of Iraq

    • Mitchel
      Posted September 4, 2015 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      I’m sure all those parties mentioned would like to see ISIL eradicated but the question with regard to Syria is who runs it and in those sphere of influence it falls.The chances of Iran and Russia giving up on Assad and letting it fall under US/UK/EU influence are practically zero – I can’t even imagine what sort of quid pro quo would have to be offered- and furthermore I think they are playing the long game ,and can afford to,after all the refugees are not heading to Russia or Iran,and Russian troops are,this week,reported to be operating with Assad’s forces possibly as “contractors”.

  17. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, as the NUJ members who largely run the mass media in this country step up their campaign to get the door opened to however many millions of illegal immigrants may decide to come to this country, out of the several billion around the world who might fancy that idea, and on top of those many immigrants already here legally and with more coming every year notwithstanding any government promises, I am reminded of the words of the French Interior Minister back in 2000:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/855811.stm

    “France has told its European partners that Europe should be prepared to take in millions of migrants in the next 50 years to offset population decline.

    The idea was put forward in a discussion document at Friday’s meeting of European interior and justice ministers, which France is hosting in Marseille.

    The document has been drawn up by France’s Interior Minister, Jean-Pierre Chevenement.

    He uses forthright language in what amounts to a wake-up call to European governments to start opening up to more legal immigration.

    He says that Europe, a land of immigration, will become a place where racial mixing occurs and public opinion needs to be enlightened and convinced. ”

    Fifteen years later and I am still waiting to be convinced.

  18. Bill
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Thanks for drawing our attention to this. I have not seen it reported elsewhere. The attempted justification, if there is one, would presumably be along the lines that the work done by both these banks was worthwhile in and of itself and that the money associated with them promoted worthy causes. For myself, this is plain nonsense. The lesson I draw is that the Lib Dems, by setting up institutions, have managed to promote their woebegone causes long after they have been ejected from office.

    Please Mr Osborn set in motion plans to dismantle these banks and return tax payers’ money to better uses.

  19. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    The Conservative Party and Mr Cameron entered into a completely voluntary arrangement with the LibDem Party to form the Coalition. Dr Cable was a leading figure before and during the arrangement. He was and is a known commodity. He was in the Liberal Party, then in the Labour Party, then in the Social Democratic Party, then in the SDP-Liberal Alliance.

    Mr Cameron, less than a week ago, gave Dr Cable a knighthood.

    • Ken Moore
      Posted September 4, 2015 at 12:17 am | Permalink

      Unbelievable but true.
      So honours for Cameron’s left wing liberal friends but none for our host Dr Redwood. I am sure if John Redwood wasn’t such a popular and well respected Mp Cameron would have him replaced by some short listed 20 something with pre-approved politically correct opinions.
      Danny Alexander as well as Mr Cable gets a knighthood – presumable for his role in helping to double the national debt.

  20. Mark
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    In the case of the Green Investment Bank, it is not merely the bank that has lost money: almost without exception the projects it has financed make no economic sense at all, being subsidised by other energy consumers in various backdoor schemes.

  21. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    I seem to remember that Cameron was Prime Minister and vowed to lead the greenist government ever. Always blaming someone else other than the incompetents leading your own party does you no credit.
    What are you going to do about yet another example of taxpayers’ money being wasted?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 3, 2015 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      Indeed and Cameron employed C Huhne, Ed Davey sacked Owen Patterson and now we have Amber Rudd!

      With the exception of Owen Patterson these people live in a total dream world. Find a decent numerate engineer to do the job.

      • Mark
        Posted September 3, 2015 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        I note Eggborough announced it was to cease generating soon. The chances of getting through winters without blackouts has just reduced another large notch – 2GW less cover for still windmills.

  22. AndyC
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Presumably Mr Cameron and Osborne agreed to this waste of taxpayers’ money?

    Oh, the money that could be saved, if only we had a government which believed in creating a smaller state, rather than just talking about it. Actually I’m not sure they even do that.

  23. lojolondon
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Good article John, we need to hold these useless people feet to the fire at every turn! One point, because this was all LibDem and Green waste, you will never hear about it on the Biased BBC – unless they see a chance to blame the Conservatives for it they will sweep it under the carpet.

  24. Roy Grainger
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    “Dr Vince Cable as Business Secretary in the Coalition government ….”

    add “and therefore with the full approval and support of David Cameron and George Osborne”

    As they are still in office unlike Cable shouldn’t you be directing your criticism at them in order they don’t make similar mistakes in the future ?.

  25. Rods
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Close them ASAP. Now you have a small majority, your Government has no excuses for carrying on with such nonsense.

  26. Antisthenes
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    If these two banks had been a good idea the private sector would have done it years ago. It of course takes a lefty to come up with state run banks idea despite the knowledge that they would become inefficient, wasteful, put a drain on the pubic purse and cause malinvestment.

    There are times when the state should run institutions and enterprises that the private sector will not become involved in. However only when there is absolutely no alternative, which is only rarely.

    There are far too many things that the state has brought under central and monopolistic control that only provide poor quality services and goods at very high cost already. Many of which the private sector would be quite happy to take over but too many are blinkered, because of misinformation doled out by the left and their own economic ignorance for this be allowed to happen. Until we do then poor quality and value for money will continue and the taxpayer will carry on pouring money into these black holes. In some cases if privatized we will still need to subsidize but it will be considerably less than we do now.

  27. A different Simon
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    That sounds like an ideological attack on a bank which was set up for ideological reasons .

    The total money lent by the green investment bank is inconsequential in comparison with :-
    – assistance to the finance industry(three orders of magnitude greater)
    – subsidy commitments for renewable energy extending multiple decades into the future such as feed in tariffs and contracts for difference
    – £2billion of grant money for carbon dioxide capture and sequestration research . Follow the money and watch where this gets spent (Scotland) .

    Commercial banks are no longer in the business of lending to viable SME’s so something is needed to fill the void though the alternative funding market is ramping up slowly .

    If the QE money had of been poured into new housing including social and infrastructure the country would surely be in a better state .

    That is what most people think and is what Jeremy Corbyn will tell them with his planned “Peoples Quantitative Easing” (PQE) .

    Whilst there is a very strong case for PQE , the problem with it being implemented by people like Corbyn is that too much of the money would get spent on ideological causes much like the Green Bank and of course politicians pet projects .

    • acorn
      Posted September 3, 2015 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      AdS, as Bill Mitchell says, PQE was a bad choice of acronym; OMF would have been better; but, at least it is a start, (Outright Monetary Financing). It just shows the total lack of macroeconomic knowledge in today’s politicians, from the far left to the far right.

      PQE / OMF is in the real world is, fiscal stimulus, the exact opposite of austerity. Running a budget deficit to maximise the productive capacity of the economy and reducing the unemployment and underemployment, to 3% or less in neo-liberal macroeconomic terms.

      What about the reducing national debt which means the government has to run a budget surplus, I hear you cry!!! The questions you should ask Mr Osborne. (a) What exactly will happen if we do not reduce the national debt? (b) Why does the government issue Gilts (IOUs) to match its budget deficit, when there is no operational requirement to do so? (c) How exactly, does the “market” in government Bonds, improve the standard of living of the UK working population, rather than just the Spivs in the City of London?

  28. stred
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Amongst other loans, for things like the biggest number of offshore windfarms in the world, the Green bank has lent £100m to Drax power stations to convert to burning American wood pellets. This is part of a £500m deal to increase burning wood to 1.6x the annual wood production of the UK- 16m tons. Unfortunately, some US environmental groups have found some whole trees being made into pellets and the scheme is only supposed to work if trimmings are used. As there is no market for the trunks, they are declared useless for anything else and pelleted. Even President Obama has taken their side and the DECC calculator left by their retired technical advisor is now available to all. Terribly embarrasing. se Biofuelwatch and Times 21.12.2012.

    • Mark
      Posted September 3, 2015 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      Since the subsidy to this scheme is to be reduced, I wonder whether it will continue, and what the further losses to the GIB will be in consequence.

    • yosarion
      Posted September 4, 2015 at 4:05 am | Permalink

      All that coal under the ground around Drax and we are paying the septics to cut down trees that take carbon out the air to then transport these pellets across the Atlantic using fossil fuel to then burn to make power.
      Where is spock when you need a quote.

  29. Tony Houghton
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    John
    Presumably these two banks are still not regulated by either the PRA or FCA and are still able to waste tax payers money as before? Should not the government be taking them to account?
    Tony

  30. Ian wragg
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Pretty much in keeping with the rest of government spending
    It’s only tax payers money so no problem. HS2 and green crap subsidies co continue to bankrupt us as a nation.
    I see the BBC is telling us we are under immense pressure to take more economic migrants after the tragedy of the young lad in Turkey. Perhaps if we made it clear they would be returned then they may stop coming.
    Has Angela told Dave how many migrants we should take? What Angela wants Angela gets.

    • A different Simon
      Posted September 3, 2015 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      The case of that young lad who’s body washed up is indeed tragic .

      Sadly , every year numerous African bodies wash up in Gibraltar and Spain .

      Newspapers which do not make that clear are imho indulging in cynical political point scoring .

      • Ken Moore
        Posted September 4, 2015 at 12:05 am | Permalink

        The reporting by the BBC of this tragic story is a disgrace -the message all day has been ‘The government is coming under increasing pressure to accept more migrants’…pressure from the BBC and other media outlets who made this story prominent in the headlines!.
        The BBC is supposed to observe and report..not make the news.

  31. Vanessa
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    I read today in a newspaper that Blair has admitted his devolution plans were flawed ! It is obvious that Cable’s idea of “green” anything was flawed.

    If you watch RT dot com they are running a programme called “Farmland in Danger” where they show how the West (in their fixation on Global Warming and CO2 reduction) is destroying land and people’s homes and livelihoods in the race for green energy. One Ex-EU official is shown filling a truck with “green” biofuel and he says that this will fill up the tank twice but the land would have supported a family for one year ! This is without saying how we are polluting rivers, cutting down forests etc. all to reduce CO2 !!

    We are now truly destroying the planet ! It is quite capable of adjusting itself in climate without our intervention !

  32. Bob
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    ” give it to a couple of government banks set up by Dr Cable”

    Presumably this had the blessing of Messrs Osborne & Cameron?

  33. acorn
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Dr Cable didn’t set up those two banks, the government’s centre of private sector, corporate finance excellence did it; known as the Shareholder Executive (SE) it has a turnover of around £12 billion a year.

    Worry not JR, Mr Osborne has taken over the SE and will fatten up its numerous shareholdings for privatisation; including the two banks mentioned if they ever get big enough to survive. Why the government didn’t give the job to the bank it already owned, RBS, is a mystery.

  34. Peter Parsons
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    £20m is peanuts compared to the £1bn loss George Osborne achieved selling RBS shares last month.

    • Mark
      Posted September 3, 2015 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      How much did Gordon Brown overpay then?

      • Peter Parsons
        Posted September 4, 2015 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        Almost certainly more than would have been necessary had there been better regulation (which there should have been). Of course the Conservative opposition at the time were claiming that the banking system was over-regulated, so I think the answer to your question is “more than was necessary, and less than would have been needed had Conservative policies been in place instead”.

        Reply I wrote the report which said they were not regulating cash and capital properly despite having the powers, but were concentrating on regulating less important matters instead. Unfortunately that proved to be true.

      • A different Simon
        Posted September 4, 2015 at 9:39 am | Permalink

        The liabilities exceeded the assets .

        The shares were worse less than zero pence .

        The whole company could have been bought for £1 .

        RBS was insolvent – bankrupt .

        The only way to bail out the shareholders and ensure bonuses got paid was to put the bill on UK PLC’s plastic .

        That is not capitalism , it’s crony capitalism and they are still “too big to fail” .

        • stred
          Posted September 5, 2015 at 8:11 am | Permalink

          Scottish bust banks, Scottish knighted bosses, Chairman of a solvent bank a pal of the PM, Scottish Chancellor, Scottish PM. = 95% of non Scottish taxpayers screwed and a solvent English bank too.

          And don’t forget the two Scottish built aircraftless aircraft carriers. Rob Roy rules OK.

  35. MickN
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Ah yes Dr Cable and the Lib Dems AKA the tail that wagged the dog.

    Like when Clegg went back on the deal to sort out the boundary fiasco in exchange for his referendum on the voting system which he lost.

    Cameron cannot use them as an excuse now. When are we to see the redrawing of the boundaries to remove the unfair 8% advantage that Comrade Corbyn will inherit when he wins the farce of a leadership election?

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted September 3, 2015 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      2018. Though I read Conservative MPs are already lobbying to scrap the boundary review which would also reduce the number of MPs to 600 because some of them would get left without seats. I imagine they think they can beat Labour again on the current boundaries with the current total number of MPs. My guess is they are wrong.

    • Brigham
      Posted September 3, 2015 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      If Sturgeon gets her way 8% won’t matter. Without the Scots England will be a right wing nation.

    • Peter Parsons
      Posted September 3, 2015 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

      Ah yes, fiddling the electoral system for party advantage. How about introducing real democrary? You know, the type where everyone’s vote actually counts for something (and it is therefore actually worth bothering to vote)?

  36. petermartin2001
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know enough about either the GIB or BBB to comment on them in particular, but I do know that the Conservative government is ideologically opposed to having any banking in the public sector. It is not just a question of profitably as far as the political right is concerned.

    For many years the Girobank, in collaboration with the Post Office ran a successful and profitable bank which both provided a useful service to customers in rural areas and at the same time provided an extra revenue stream for all local post offices.

    Mrs Thatcher’s government’s solution to what they obviously thought was a a major problem was to sell off the bank to private interests. Note: This is not the same as privatisation. The link with local Post Offices was removed meaning that they too lost a vital source of income and without which most have been unable to survive.

    I accept that there was a case for privatisation but this was a process of simple destruction for no good reason whatever -other than to protect the main high street banks from commercial competition.

  37. Peter Stroud
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    The Green Bank, what fiasco. A bank whose sole purpose is taking taxpayer’s money, and finding new ways of wasting it on green crap projects. A typical LibDem idea, but probably fully supported by our esteemed Prime ministr.

  38. Mike Wilson
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    And what if one of the banks loaned money to a company that was developing a revolutionary energy source that would slash costs and carbon emissions. Whether you believe in global warming or not (I tend not to) – burning carbon for energy is invariably messy and causes pollution.

    Better than wasting money allowing people to spend £173 on a chauffeur driven car journey of less than a mile.

  39. Anonymous
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Looks like civilisation in Britain is going to collapse under a Tory government then.

    The Left are getting all the air time on the refugee crisis.

    People are going to see a rapid decline in their safety and living standards under your government and there is not a lot you can do about it.

    Mr Cameron has to stop listening to Emma Thompson (who does she think she is ?) and start putting OUR people first. It really is them or us now.

  40. Iain Gill
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Cameron caving in to media political bubble pressure on immigration I see. Doesn’t seem to care that majority of Brits want immigration cut. No balance to media coverage.

  41. turbo terrier
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    What did anyone expect?

    The whole “Green Deals, Banks and Subsidies” are just about people who know three fifths of naff all trying to introduce processes that make them feel good about themselves, because when the sticky smelly stuff hits the fan they can all stand there and state it was because they were trying to save the world!!! At least that way they can justify their actions to their own conscience. Fools everyone of them.

    How many more disasters can Mr Cameron chose to ignore? He is the elected leader. Start to bleeding lead us in the right direction and sort out these idiots that just continually waste taxpayers money especially to the Church of Climate Change.

    He is right about not taking the immigrants in, because when they get here it impacts on every area across the country. Housing, energy. NHS, Employment, Transport and Education. Who will be paying for it? Good old taxpayer throwing money at the solution instead of addressing the problem, bit like us paying for all the greencrap. How these people can talk on the radio about matching Germany’s efforts. Have they not noticed the difference in size of land mass?

    It is just another thing to beat up the government and the sad truth is that every day people are dying trying to get out of one country or another.

    I see on the latest GWPF report that there are whispers that the DECC will be absorbed into another department. Bit too late the damage has already been done.
    The only way to save face now is for Mr cameron to stand up at the depatch box hold his hands up and admit THE GOVERNMENT HAS GOT IT WRONG. Repeal the Climate Change Act and guillotine all subsidies. Projects in the planning process, extensions or incomplete sites all made to stand on their own. Remove farming subsidies to allow the real farmers to take over from those just in it for the handouts. It worked in New Zealand.

    It is all very well the disciples of RE &CC banging on but most of their data comes from computers. When introduced for the first time at my company the opening line from the trainers was: If you put crap in crap comes out. They weren’t wrong on that one.

    Mr Osbourne has the golden opportunity to raise bucket loads of money by scrapping all these high profile, high cost fantasy projects with little or no value to addressing the state this country is in.

    If both Mr Cameron and Osbourne cannot come upto the mark as expected by the electorate it is time for them to go on TVs House in the Country. There are more than a few ready and able to fill their shoes and they are not sitting on the front benches.

    They now no longer have any excuses not to be dynamic and make things happen that will attract more jobs and security as announced for Sunderland today by Nissan.

    Push has gone to shove.

  42. margaret
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    Dear oh Dear! half way to danger point warming, floods again , too any people concentrated in one area, no one acting against the war zone, turning the other cheek for too long will ruin humanity, we are not here to always pick up the pieces of others inhumanity.

  43. mart
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    They didn’t make money.

    But did anyone expect them to make money?

    On what basis did they expect this?

    Not regulated by the normal financial regulators? Why not?

  44. Ken Moore
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

    Yet another prime example of policy being driven by politically correct types that want to lecture us from their supposed moral high ground.

    Similarly, David Cameron helped to topple Colonel Gadaffi leaving the region at the mercy of ISIS extremists. Nice work Dave,

    DC in 2011

    ‘Some people warned – as Qadhafi himself did – that the Libyan people could not be trusted with freedom; that without Qadhafi there would be chaos’. (The PC thing to say, all cultures are of equal merit , global village etc. blah blah)

    ‘What is emerging now, despite years of repression, and the trauma of recent months, is immensely impressive’.

    Impressive indeed – the country (and the wider world) is now in a vastly worse state than before Cameron’s meddling – yet he appears to have got away with it…

    • Ken Moore
      Posted September 5, 2015 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      Retired General Sir David Richards on David Cameron :-

      ‘In Ukraine, as in Syria and Libya, there is a clear lack of strategy and statecraft. The problem is the inability to think things through. Too often it seems to be more about the Notting Hill liberal agenda rather than statecraft.’

      So now an ex army man is saying the same as us casual observers…
      We and the rest of the world are paying a heavy price for the dogged loyalty of the cabal of Conservative Mp’s that continue to keep Cameron in office with barely a murmur of dissent.

      If we and a Senior army general can see through Cameron ….why can’t someone within the Conservative party who has influence over Cameron…How many more disasters will it take……how many more lives lost….Or is career and party more important ?

      reply The electorate have just decided to keep Mr C in office!

      • Ken Moore
        Posted September 5, 2015 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

        reply The electorate have just decided to keep Mr C in office!

        Thanks Mr Redwood,
        You make a fair point although I would suggest most voters choose Conservative but unwittingly got a re-treaded Blair government. They were duped by a slick PR man who honed his skills in the oily PR world.
        Why not pick a real Conservative leader and give the people what they voted for ?
        I would be interested to hear your views on the quality of Mr Cameron’s strategic thinking and statecraft. 2/10 seems fair . Cameron is closer to Jeremy Corbyn than the grass roots of the party.

        I wouldn’t expect you to endorse my view but the trouble with democracy is that stupid people are allowed to vote. But seriously Mr C was the least bad mainstream option – his performance has been generally poor considering he failed to topple the hapless Mr Brown and benefitted from Scottish Nationalists and Mr Millibands inability to eat a bacon sandwich.

        Your party could do so much better – for 10 years we longed for an end to the political correctness and constant meddling of Blair ..then we got another great helping of the same from Mr Cameron. What did we do to deserve this pair?
        Like his role model Mr Blair, Cameron’s luck will spectacularly run out leaving your party back with another ERM credibility gap.Then it will be too late….

  45. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 4, 2015 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    Is this all water under the bridge or are there more losses to come?

    Talking of banks, some economists believe that there is an ongoing implicit subsidy to the banks of several billion £ per annum. I don’t know where this comes from. I do know that I saw it on one of those pie charts that show what UK taxes are spent on.

  46. sm
    Posted September 4, 2015 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    To small a sum at present and too short a time frame to make any final judgements.
    It could turn out to be more successful if viewed over the life the assets funded.

    Assets are in demand, plenty of fiat flying around. As storage tech improves so the asset values will rise as could the debts/project be taken on by others maybe by a pension or national pension (nest) fund direct which needs yield.

    Note they are not the only banks who have made losses.

  47. Peter Wilson
    Posted September 7, 2015 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    As a taxpayer I welcome John Redwood’s focus on ensuring the public receives value for money for their investment in the British Business Bank.

    The British Business Bank’s activities encompass both commercial activities, which are undertaken by its subsidiary, British Business Bank Investments Ltd (“BBBIL”), and many other activities which are to varying degrees consciously subsidised such as start-up loans, small venture capital funds, and loan guarantees for small business lending, where the intention is to implement Government programmes supporting UK SMEs.

    I’d agree that it is a fair challenge to ask the commercial subsidiary to make a profit, compare the return generated to the alternative of paying down debt, and seek a dividend. British Business Bank Investments Ltd. has not yet published its accounts for its first period of operation to March 31st 2015 and inside knowledge prevents me from offering a wager, however when our results are published I’d hope that taxpayers will be pleasantly surprised.

    Those curious about what to expect will find the published parent company accounts informative. BBBIL’s reported pre-tax earnings for the five month period to March 31st were £5.1 million (after all direct and allocated costs), to which need to be added the increase in value of investments of £5.7 million shown in the accompanying notes, which is not reflected in the IFRS reported figure. That represents a total return of £10.8 million for five months, or £25.8 million per annum. On a closing balance sheet of £500 million (which has been growing) that implies a return on invested capital of a little over 5% – by any measure in excess of the UK Government cost of Debt .

    Aside from being profitable in its first period of operation, British Business Bank Investments also won an award for “Alternative Finance Debt Funder of the Year” in competition with a field of private sector firms in the 2015 Fintech Innovation Awards.

    Profitable and innovative. Not bad for a publically owned start up.

    Yours sincerely,

    Peter Wilson
    CEO
    British Business Bank Investments Ltd.

    Reply Thank you for your contribution. I look forward to the results.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page