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.