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Alistair Darling to reveal £2bn ‘green bank’ in budget

A £2bn “green bank” that finances environmentally friendly transport and energy projects will be at the heart of Alistair Darling's Budget.

The Chancellor said yesterday he was not preparing a pre-election “giveaway” package for Wednesday, with most of the spare cash in the Treasury's coffers being used to reduce Britain's huge deficit.

In the Budget, Mr Darling will focus on smaller schemes to cut dole queues, with the establishment of a Green Investment Bank the centre-piece of a package of job-creation measures.

It will be set up with £1bn from the Treasury, funded by the sale of Government assets such as the Tote and the Dartford River Crossing. Private industry would contribute £1bn to the bank. The money would go towards new nuclear power stations, renewable energy schemes — such as wind farms and solar power — and developing new rail routes.

The Government believes an extra 400,000 “green jobs” can be created over the next five years in the drive to cut Britain's CO2 emissions.

\[Brian Lovett\]Mr Darling will argue that some Government investment is essential to encourage private-sector investment. Ministers point to the success of the car-scrappage scheme, under which motorists were given £2,000 off the price of a new model, of which £1,000 came from the Government and £1,000 from motor manufacturers.

The Chancellor said yesterday: “Our challenge is to make sure that Government is prepared to do what is necessary to get growth. A little bit of Government help can unlock a lot of private-sector investment, and that is going to be the focus this week.”

\[Brian Lovett\]ENDPIECE Business, Page 36

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