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No rush for Green Investment Bank

The coalition will not rush a deal on the size and scope of the Green Investment Bank, Energy secretary Chris Huhne has said.

Huhne told MPs there were “ongoing discussions” between ministers on the formation of the bank, which is being set up with at least £1bn to fund clean energy and low carbon projects.

Campaigners have warned that the bank must be properly financed in order to help Britain tackle climate change and energy security, amid concerns that Liberal Democrats are at odds with the Treasury on the issue.

At Commons question time, Labour’s Ian Murray (Edinburgh S) asked whether the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) had been “heavily involved” in the bank’s development.

He asked Huhne: “What input have you had in the formation of the bank and can you tell the House if you’re in favour of a bank or a fund, or if the Treasury’s pushing you towards a fund in order to keep it off their books?”

The energy secretary replied: “There are ongoing discussions between ministers and I would merely make the point to honourable gentlemen and ladies opposite that it’s more important to get this right than to get it wrong and do it quickly.

“Remember that with the Green Investment Bank, we’re looking at an institution that is going to be crucial in supporting the transition to the low carbon economy − not over a two year period, a three year period, but over 40 years.

“Because this is something if you look back at our economic history where we’ve had similar massive changes in the way our economy has been powered and the move, for example, to coal and then on to oil and the internal combustion engine − these things don’t happen in a day.

“So let’s get the Green Investment Bank right, that’s what ministers are going to do and announcements will be made in due course.”

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