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16 November 2023

Treasury Confirmation That EIS Should be Extended a Boost for UK Growth Businesses


The Enterprise Investment Scheme Association (EISA), representing entrepreneurs, advisers and investors providing early stage investment for many of the country’s fast growth businesses, has welcomed the Treasury’s confirmation that the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) should be extended beyond the current 2025 deadline.

The current scheme is subject to a Sunset Clause which would see the scheme ending in April 2025. The world-leading EIS accounts for nearly £2.3 billion of investment into nearly 5,000 start-ups every year. An end to the scheme would be disastrous for many of the country’s key high growth businesses across many sectors including medicine and technology.

In the report, the Government confirmed that further details around an extension to the scheme will be announced at a “future fiscal event”. The Chancellor typically has two fiscal events a year; the Budget, which usually takes place in March, and the Autumn Statement, which has been confirmed for the 22nd November this year.

The Government response says,

“HM Treasury agrees with the Committee that the sunset clauses for the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Venture Capital Trusts (VCT) should be extended. The Chancellor has already stated his firm intention to extend the sunset clauses and will provide further details on the schemes beyond 2025 at a future fiscal event.”

Director General of the EISA Christiana Stewart-Lockhart commented,

“ It’s reassuring to see the Government, once again, restating their firm intention to extend the sunset clause on the EIS. This is absolutely critical for entrepreneurs, across the whole of the UK, and certainty around this could give a real boost to start-ups looking to raise investment now and in the near future.

The current challenge is that it is difficult for entrepreneurs to plan for the next 3 years without the certainty that the EIS would be available for their next fund raise. Typically, start-ups have an 18-month cash runway and that takes us past the current end to the EIS. The next fiscal event in November provides the Government with a great opportunity to boost confidence and investment in these early stage businesses, by providing further details around an extension to the world-leading Enterprise Investment Scheme.”

HM Treasury also emphasised their commitment to supporting businesses in the regions and devolved nations. Historically the majority of investment has gone to SE based businesses, and the EISA has been active in promoting the EIS in other key regional locations through a series of free events. Through the British Business Bank, there are a series of programmes working alongside the EIS to address regional imbalances including the Regional Angels Programme, Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF), Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF).

The Government confirmed in its response to the Treasury Committee Report that

“these programmes play an important role in increasing the supply of finance in all areas of the UK and are delivering well. An interim evaluation report published in April 2022 showed that the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund has increased productivity, employment and skills across the North.”

Christiana Stewart-Lockhart added,

“The focus that the Government continues to put on broadening the EIS’s use and access to capital beyond London and the South East is already paying dividends in developing key technology centres of excellence across the country, including in Northern Ireland. The continued commitment to promoting growth in these areas will be seen as a positive move.”

 



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