British Business Bank Spring Budget Response

Press release 06 March 2024

In today’s Spring Budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that, following a highly competitive bidding process, the British Business Bank intends to award a total of £250m under the Long-Term Investment for Technology and Science initiative. The Chancellor also announced the extension of the Recovery Loan Scheme, to be renamed the Growth Guarantee Scheme.

The Long-Term Investment for Technology and Science (LIFTS) initiative

The LIFTS initiative will aim to create two new investment vehicles that are accessible to pension fund capital, unlocking over £1bn of total private capital, including from Defined Contribution (DC) pension schemes, to support innovative companies in the UK.

  • Schroders Capital, Schroders’ specialist private markets investment division has been awarded £150 million by the British Business Bank to invest into UK science and tech companies. This investment will be matched by Phoenix Group, the UK’s largest long-term savings and retirement business.
  • ICG plc, the global alternative asset manager’s European life sciences strategy, has been awarded £100 million by the British Business Bank to invest into the UK’s most innovative life sciences companies which will also be matched by Phoenix Group.

N.B. The awards are subject to completing commercial negotiations and the internal governance processes of all parties.

The Growth Guarantee Scheme

The third iteration of the Recovery Loan Scheme, which is due to end in June 2024 will be extended and renamed as the Growth Guarantee Scheme. The terms of the scheme will remain unchanged, ensuring continuity and consistency for lenders and the business community. By providing a 70% guarantee to participating lenders on finance of up to £2 million offered to smaller businesses, the scheme is expected to support 11,000 businesses between 1 July 2024 and 31 March 2026.

The first two iterations of the Recovery Loan Scheme, designed to support access to finance and growth for UK businesses as they recovered from the Covid-19 pandemic, enabled £4.3bn of finance to smaller UK businesses. The third iteration of the scheme has offered more than £1bn of finance since its launch in August 2022. Approximately 80% of facilities under the third iteration of the scheme have been offered outside of London, and more than 90% of the businesses supported had fewer than 50 employees.

Long-Term Investment for Technology and Science is a potentially game-changing initiative. With the intention of catalysing more than £1bn of funding, including from UK pension funds, LIFTS will support the growth and ambitions of the UK’s most innovative science and technology companies, which with the right finance and support can become the world-beating businesses of tomorrow.

We welcome today’s announcement by the Chancellor, and look forward to concluding agreements with Phoenix Group, Schroders plc and ICG plc, and to working with them as they build towards making their first investments under the initiative by the end of this year.

The Growth Guarantee Scheme will build on the work of the Recovery Loan Scheme, helping smaller businesses to access the right type of finance they need to grow and thrive. This type of guarantee scheme supports lenders in providing a wide range of finance for smaller businesses, and so is a vital ingredient in the smaller business finance landscape.

Louis Taylor CEO, British Business Bank

Further Information

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Notes to editors

About the British Business Bank

The British Business Bank is the UK government’s economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to drive sustainable growth and prosperity across the UK and to enable the transition to a net zero economy, by improving access to finance for smaller businesses. Its remit is to design, deliver and efficiently manage UK-wide smaller business access to finance programmes for the UK government.

The British Business Bank’s core programmes support over £12.4 billion1 of finance to more than 90,000 smaller businesses2 .

As well as increasing the supply and diversity of finance for UK smaller businesses through its programmes, the Bank works to raise awareness of finance options available to smaller businesses. The British Business Bank Finance Hub provides independent and impartial information to businesses about finance options, featuring short films, expert guides, checklists and articles from finance providers to help make their application a success.

The British Business Bank is also responsible for administering the government’s three Coronavirus loan schemes and its Future Fund, together responsible for delivering £80.4 billion in finance to 1.67 million businesses. These schemes are now closed to new applications.

British Business Bank plc is a public limited company registered in England and Wales, registration number 08616013, registered office at Steel City House, West Street, Sheffield, S1 2GQ. Wholly owned by HM government, the Bank and its subsidiaries are not banking institutions and do not operate as such. They are not authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). A complete legal structure chart for the group can be found at the British Business Bank.

The proposed LIFTS transactions described above do not constitute or imply any endorsement, warranty or recommendation by the UK government, the British Business Bank plc, its subsidiaries or any other party in respect of Phoenix Group, Schroders Capital or ICG plc, or their products or services.

  • 1

    Figures as at the end of March 2023

  • 2

    Figures as at the end of March 2023