The chancellor of the exchequer wants to make sure that UK firms’ access to funding will continue following Brexit.
Philip Hammond made the remarks during his annual Mansion House speech, delivered today, and acknowledged that the European Investment Bank (EIB), and the European Investment Fund (EIF), had been a significant source of funding for businesses in the country.
“I want that access to EIB funding to continue while we are members of the EU on equal terms,” the chancellor said.
“So I am engaged with the EIB and will provide the assurances it needs to sustain the flow of EIB and EIF funding to UK businesses and projects.
“And to ensure that finance continues to be available after Brexit, alongside these discussions with the EIB, I can also announce I am expanding the support available to capital funding in the UK.”
Additionally, Hammond said he was working to make sure the government was “doing all it can” to facilitate firms’ access to patient capital, as being able to access long-term capital would allow businesses “to grow and bear the fruits of the flow of innovation that is pouring out of UK universities”.
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Hammond’s comments come after tech entrepreneurs expressed their concerns that British startups could be damaged by the withdrawal of EIB funding following the country’s decision to leave the EU.
Reports surfaced last month that at least four British VC firms had been affected by a funding freeze from the EIF, which had committed approximately £2bn to UK-based venture capital firms in the past.
Business Insider reported that two different sources had said that the EIF had ceased sending funds to any firm who applied, or was in the process of submitting and application, after the UK’s Brexit referendum last year.
The news comes a day after Brexit negotiations officially began in Brussels.