Government Moving "At Pace" To Help UK Businesses Hit By Silicon Valley Bank Collapse
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, pictured in March 2023 (Alamy)
The Government is urgently working on plans to help businesses in the UK after the collapse of US-based Silicon Valley Bank, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has said.
Hunt said that plans will soon be announced that will help businesses using SVB to pay their staff and meet their “cash flow requirements”.
The bank, which specialised in lending venture capital money to start-ups, was shut down by US regulators on Friday.
In a statement early on Sunday morning, the Treasury said the government is treating the issue as a “high priority”, with Hunt, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the governor of the Bank of England Andrew Bailey involved in crisis talks over the weekend.
Speaking on Sky News's Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Hunt said that the bank is responsible for “the money of some of our most promising and exciting businesses” and that officials are “working at pace on a solution”.
“We will bring forward very soon plans to make sure he were able to meet their cash flow requirements, pay their staff," he continued.
“But obviously what we want to do is to find a longer term solution that minimises or even avoids completely losses to some of our most promising companies.”
Hunt would not confirm whether taxpayer money would be used to help safeguard jobs, but sought to reassure business leaders facing the consequences of the fallout.
“What I will say, because people are worried about paying their staff next week, is we will come forward with a solution that helps those very very important companies with things like payroll and their their cash flow requirements,” Hunt added.
Labour’s shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said that she was “concerned” by the Chancellor’s “urgency” and said plans “must” be in place by Monday morning.
“When markets open tomorrow morning, a lot of businesses in the UK are not going to be clear about how they can pay the wages of their staff and whether their deposits with Silicon Valley Bank and their financing arrangements are still in place," Reeves told Sky News.
“So I would urge the government to do more than offer warm words, but come forward with specific plans. They must by tomorrow morning, come up with a plan to give reassurance to those crucial parts of our economy.”
In a subsequent statement, Reeves said: “The collapse of SVB could have serious implications for the UK's start-up sector, which drives growth and innovation across the economy.
“The Chancellor must act urgently to understand the exposure of UK firms to the bank, and take action to prevent large-scale damage being done to this crucial sector of the British economy.”
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