Queen’s green summit to bring billions to UK: Royals spearhead mission to lure world’s business titans – and steal march on French
The Queen and senior Royals will this week roll out the red carpet to global business leaders in an unprecedented attempt to secure overseas investment into Britain.
Ministers hope Her Majesty’s presence will help to seal a string of huge deals at the Global Investment Summit – and eclipse a similar event held by France.
As the gathering takes place, it is expected that billions of pounds of investment into green energy will be announced as a show of Britain’s determination to hit net zero carbon by 2050.
In the pink: Ministers hope Her Majesty’s presence will help to seal a string of huge deals at the Global Investment Summit
The summit at the Science Museum in Central London will host more than 200 business titans, including Jamie Dimon, the JPMorgan chief seen as the world’s most powerful banker, and Larry Fink, chairman of $9 trillion (£6.6trillion) fund manager BlackRock, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and chief executive of Goldman Sachs David Solomon. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will address the guests and almost half the Cabinet will be on the charm offensive.
Those at the summit will later be whisked to Windsor Castle with a motorcade escort for a gala dinner hosted by the Queen, who is expected to stress the importance of tackling climate change.
The Queen’s involvement is being seen as a landmark moment in using the Royals to attract international investment. She will be joined by the Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge, The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Prince Michael of Kent. It is unusual for the Queen and the direct line to the throne all to attend functions.
The event rivals a foreign investment summit hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron. One City source said: ‘Macron was ahead of the UK on this – but the Queen’s our trump card, it’s textbook one-upmanship.’
NatWest chief Alison Rose said the Queen’s appearance would add weight to the event. ‘She is a great ambassador for the country and a globally respected person – that’s definitely a strength,’ she said.
The Queen last week remarked that she was irritated by people who ‘talk’ but ‘don’t do’, ahead of the COP26 UN climate change summit. She will attend COP26 in Glasgow next month along with other Royals. Speakers at this week’s summit include GlaxoSmithKline chief executive Emma Walmsley, Barclays boss Jes Staley and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.
The MoS understands the summit will provide the backdrop to several significant steps to develop the UK’s nuclear energy capabilities, including funding for mini nuclear reactors led by Rolls-Royce.
The Government is also expected to trigger the start of the legislative process to allow regulated asset base (RAB) funding for nuclear power plants. This will reduce the financing risk of huge projects for investors and is among the options to fund the Sizewell C project in Suffolk.
It would pave the way for the Government to block China General Nuclear Power Group from the project and seek investment instead from pension funds. Industry insiders are hoping to see the publication of the Government’s Net Zero Strategy document, which was slated to be released before COP26.
The Government last week championed the £5.8 billion of foreign investment in green projects secured since the launch of the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution last year. Major overseas investors are expected to attend the summit, including Abu Dhabi’s $243billion sovereign wealth fund Mubadala. As part of a five-year deal struck in March, Abu Dhabi’s state fund has already agreed to pump £800million into the UK’s life sciences sector, plus similar sums into tech, green energy and infrastructure.
Amanda Blanc, chief executive of insurance giant Aviva, who is also attending, said: ‘There are mundane meetings and then there are really important summits. This week will fall into the second category, bringing together investors and decision makers to ensure the UK is one of the world’s most attractive and greenest investment destinations.’
Blanc called for the Government to ‘mandate climate transition plans’, requiring companies to outline their plan for decarbonising investments by the end of 2023. Aviva is among the signatories to a letter urging Kwarteng and Chancellor Rishi Sunak to force corporate giants to disclose detailed plans to hit net zero carbon.
Staley said the UK had ‘decisive competitive advantages’ including ‘world-class’ research facilities. The Barclays boss added: ‘Building on and leveraging these strengths will be critical to attract investment and deliver jobs and prosperity across the country.’
The Government is expected to confirm that £210million of funding has been released to fund the early stages of the UK SMR project to build mini nuclear power stations after £300million of match funding has been raised by private investors.
Rolls-Royce chief Warren East will discuss the project at the summit. It has been led by Rolls-Royce through a consortium which includes Atkins and Laing O’Rourke. The project will be rebranded as Rolls-Royce SMR to emphasise the respected brand.
However, it has emerged that executives are considering carrying out some tests in northern Italy. The SIET institute in Piacenza has been shortlisted as a testing site. UK options include the M-SParc science park in Anglesey, North Wales.
One industry source said: ‘Having this facility based in the UK would ensure Britain remains at the forefront of nuclear technology.’