At a recent meeting for tech companies and investors hosted by Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor confirmed that the United Kingdom now has stakes in over 150 high-growth firms.
A statement by the Treasury announced that the stakes are a product of the UK government investing over a billion pounds in approximately 1,200 businesses through its dedicated Future Fund. The initiative, which first launched back in May last year, utilises state loans that are convertible in order to entice private investors and assist technology companies in their growth. The Treasury confirmed that some of these loans had now been fully changed into stakes.
Ahead of the conference, a statement by Chancellor Sunak explained the endeavour:
“Investing in these companies has the potential to accelerate innovations that will transform U.K. industry, develop new medicines and strengthen our position as a science superpower.”
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The recent disclosure indicates a change of approach by the Conservatives, with the party usually averse to any intervention from the state in privately owned companies.
Now, the UK taxpayer has stakes in businesses that include Vaccitech, the firm that co-invented the vaccine for Covid-19 that is currently being supplied via AstraZeneca, and Century Tech, a technology enterprise that is now using artificial intelligence (AI) to create tailored learning journeys for children.