FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson takes part in media interviews during the annual Conservative Party conference, in Manchester, Britain, October 5, 2021. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo
October 18, 2021
By William James
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said it had attracted nearly 10 billion pounds ($13.72 billion) from global investors to fund its green regeneration agenda, as it hosted an investment summit involving 200 of the world’s top financiers and executives.
The summit marks post-Brexit Britain’s biggest push to woo investors, even leveraging the soft power of drinks with Queen at her castle, as it seeks cash and partners to get ahead in the international race for a competitive edge in green technology.
“We are rolling out the green carpet for investors,” said trade department minister Gerry Grimstone ahead of the summit opening.
The British government announced private investment deals worth 9.7 billion pounds, including 6 billion pounds in offshore wind from Iberdrola, as well as in net zero carbon warehouses and decarbonisation technology for the waste industry.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will open the summit in central London on Tuesday, speaking to financiers such as JPMorgan Chase & Co Chief Executive Jamie Dimon, Blackrock CEO Larry Fink and bosses from GlaxoSmithKline and Darktrace.
France has held a similar investment summit in recent years, but Britain believes it has a trump card over its neighbour: after the summit, attendees will travel to Windsor Castle for a reception attended by the Queen and other senior royals.
The event comes at a time when Britain’s green credentials are in the spotlight, two weeks before it hosts the U.N. COP26 climate summit, where Johnson will try to broker a complex international deal to stall rising global temperatures.
The government last year issued a plan setting out how it wanted to prioritise green technology and climate goals in Britain’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
That gambit is central to Johnson’s political agenda too, having been elected in 2019 on a pledge to reinvigorate post-industrial parts of the country and create higher-skilled, better-paid jobs.
The new investments are on top of 5.85 billion pounds the government said last week had been agreed since Johnson launched his plan in November.
($1 = 0.7290 pounds)
(Reporting by William James; Editing by Alex Richardson)