Labour to review support for tech startups

Lord O’Neil will lead investigation into barriers holding back UK tech start-ups, including access to finance

Labour has launched a review to investigate what can be done to support more British start-ups.

The review, commissioned by Labour’s shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves with a panel of industry leaders led by Lord (Jim) O’Neill, will focus on the role of universities, diversity among entrepreneurs, and access to long-term finance for UK start-ups.

See also: ‘Sunak should get serious about pensions backing VCs’ says Lord O’Neill

Other panel members include Alex Depledge, the chief executive of online home improvement platform Resi; technology entrepreneur Tom Adeyoola; and Julie Devonshire, director of entrepreneurship at King’s College London.

Reeves is expected to raise concerns at today’s Times newspaper CEO summit about the small number of start-ups listing in the UK and the obstacles they face scaling up. London-staged IPOs sank to levels not seen since 2009, the aftermath of the global financial crisis, in the first quarter of 2022.

The review will also focus on the geographical spread of start-ups – with secretary of state Michael Gove due to discuss levelling up at today’s event – while reviewing incentives for growing businesses.

This week at London Tech Week, the government unveiled its strategy to boost the UK tech industry, aiming to attract more investment into AI, quantum computing and digital health tech.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has also recently launched the Future Fund, a £250m loan scheme for high-growth firms to encourage investment into British firms.

UK tech start-ups raised £12.4bn from venture capital funding in the first five months of 2022, second only to US firms.

Lord O’Neill told The Times: “The more all political parties support the eco-system of start-ups for the UK, the more they become entwined in the DNA of policy thinking for the future.”

Reeves told The Guardian: “Something I have heard repeatedly from businesspeople is a real worry about the small number of start-ups listing in the UK and the stubborn obstacles preventing many of them from scaling up.

“Labour’s mission is to build an institutional ecosystem offering the market the access, finance and skills that new and growing businesses need.”

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Dom Walbanke

Dom Walbanke

Dom is a feature writer for Growth Business and Small Business, focused on matters concerning start-ups and scale-ups. He has also been published in the Independent, FourFourTwo magazine and various lifestyle...

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