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UK government pledges £1bn to support startups

UK government pledges £1bn to support startups

Image: Jordhan Madec - Unsplash

Around a quarter of the money will go towards a public-private fund called the Future Fund

The UK government has promised £1bn worth of support for startups struggling to cope amid the coronavirus pandemic, bowing to the pressure of the local tech community.

On Monday, the government said that it was committing £250m towards a new £500m fund that would invest in high-growth private companies that needed money. The government also promised £750m worth of grants and loans to small and medium-sized businesses focusing on research and development.

It comes in the wake of similar packages by the French and German governments earlier this month and follows a sustained campaign by influential figures in the UK tech community, with the Save our Startups lobby group calling for exactly these kinds of measures announced today.

But the pledge from the UK government will likely prove controversial, with fears that the money will help to prop up zombie startups and that taxpayers money could be better spent elsewhere.

Robin Klein, a partner at London-based VC firm LocalGlobe and influential tech figure, summed up those fears writing in a piece for Sifted: “Please use scarce taxpayers money in the sectors that really need it — hospitality, transport, recreation, arts and charities. Offering startups debt packages or handouts is not the way to go.”

The UK government was conscious of the debate and has attempted to structure the funds to limit the risk of the government spending taxpayer’s money on poor businesses.

Read more here

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