Philip Hammond has committed another £2.5bn to the British Business Bank (BBB) in his Autumn Budget speech, providing a boost to UK productivity and innovation.
The £2.5bn will be “incubated” by the BBB in order for the development bank to become a leading investor in long-term “patient” investments. It is the most significant commitment of funding the government has given the BBB to date.
The government’s investment in the BBB is part of a wider package of measures design to boost innovation over a ten-year period.
The ten-year “action plan”, announced by the chancellor in his Budget speech on 22 November, also includes an allocation of £500m towards a range of innovation-boosting initiatives, like artificial intelligence, 5G connectivity and the rollout of full-fibre broadband.
Read more Autumn Budget coverage:
In his speech, the chancellor said: “We have some of the world’s best companies and a commanding position in a raft of tech and digital industries that will form the backbone of the global economy of the future.
“Those who underestimate Britain do so at their peril. Because we will harness this potential and turn it into the high paid high productivity jobs of tomorrow.
“A new tech business is funded every hour and I want that to be every half hour. So today we invest over £500m in a range of initiatives from artificial intelligence to 5G and full-fibre broadband.
“We support regulatory innovation, with a new regulator’s pioneer fund and a new geospatial data commission to develop a strategy for using the government’s location to support economic growth and to help our tech startups reach scale.”
Commenting on the Budget, chief executive at inniAccounts, an online software provider for the self-employed, said there was much to be please about from the chancellor’s announcement for technology and innovation-based businesses.
He added: “Hammond has gone all-in on technology. Of particular interest to us as we incorporate more AI into our software is the £75m investment in AI and £2.3bn in R&D for scale-up companies.
“I hope this will unlock more innovation in the small companies that aren’t venture capital backed but are still capable of making a sizeable contribution to AI innovation in Britain, as well as support more collaboration with university machine learning teams who have much to offer ambitious scale ups like us.”
Autumn Budget 2017: National Productivity Investment Fund increased to £31bn
Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest from Business Advice.