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Autumn statement: unlocking the UK's productivity?

Boosting UK productivity with investment in infrastructure, from housing and transport to regional initiatives, was a key theme of Chancellor Phillip Hammond's autumn statement. Partners at TLT give their reaction.

Jon Gill, corporate partner specialising in M&A, private equity and venture capital transactions, comments:

"Some encouraging long term steps to improve the UK's position as a great place to grow and invest in businesses developing innovative technologies. The continued investment in venture capital schemes by the British Business Bank will be welcomed, particularly as the availability of funds from the European Investment Fund is less certain post-Brexit. The patient capital review will be closely watched to see if this recommends a market intervention in the same manner as the Rowlands Review (that led to the Business Growth Fund), or a relaxation of restrictions around replacement capital – the latter being what many funds will be hoping for. 

"The abolition of Employee Shareholder Status was expected. But it was disappointing not to hear of a replacement scheme to encourage wider equity participation in growing UK companies, which would have helped address the productivity issue that was highlighted in the Statement. 

"The focus on the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine was understandable, and the Oxford – Cambridge growth corridor is a very worthy initiative, but given that Bristol and Bath is one of the few net contributors to the UK exchequer, more recognition and support would have been well received. We will need to see how the £683 million for the Local Enterprise Partnerships in the South West, South East and London is carved up to see if this is helpful."

Paul Butterworth, head of TLT's housing team, specialising in social housing, comments:

"The government has recognised that housing is a key part of the UK's infrastructure. Therefore £2.3 billion housing infrastructure monies and £1.4 billion of grant to be released for housing will be cautiously welcomed if it provides the catalyst to deliver the badly needed additional affordable new homes estimated by these initiatives. 

"The housing white paper to focus on structural housing deficiency in the UK will be interesting to see what is proposed to deal with this issue, where other governments have failed."

Please contact a member of the media team if you would like further comment from one of our partners.

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