Small business voices react to Jeremy Hunt’s new pension reform

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has unveiled a new pensions reform plan at Mansion House, where he outlined proposals to mobilise investment to startups within the UK.

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UK startups have faced challenges in securing adequate funding compared to their US counterparts in the current economic climate, resulting in limited early-stage growth opportunities.

In response to this issue, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has announced a groundbreaking plan to merge workplace pension schemes and unleash up to £75 billion of retirement funds to fuel fast-growing startups. 

The pension reform

The move has the potential to accelerate the UK’s ambition to become the next Silicon Valley, Hunt argues.

The proposal, aimed at mobilising investment from the UK’s £2.5 trillion pensions sector, was unveiled during Hunt’s speech at the lord mayor’s annual Mansion House dinner in central London on Monday evening.

There’s a suggested upside for those investing in their pensions, too, with Hunt promising a £1,000 boost to the average annual pension pot.

We’ve gathered some initial responses to this new pension reform announcement, below.

Pension fund investments into growing businesses “needs to be handled with care”

Nicholas Hyett

Investment Analyst at Wealth Club

The Chancellor has some big ideas for small companies. His efforts to improve access to later-stage funding for UK start-ups are very welcome. The success of the SEIS, EIS and VCT schemes means the UK is now the startup capital of Europe, but we’re still struggling to support companies in transitioning from plucky, disruptive start-up to global tech giant. 

A lot of that is down to the difficulty of raising later-stage capital in the UK. Entrepreneurs either have to look abroad or sell up to an established global player – and that means the UK economy is missing out on the benefits of having its own Apple or Nvidia. However, there are no easy fixes and reforms need to be handled carefully if they’re to deliver the hoped-for benefits without inadvertently damaging the UK’s already impressive investment ecosystem.

UK pension funds have been winding down allocations to UK companies for years, if not decades, turning away from risky equity bets in favour of reliable government bonds that can be matched up with future pension payments. There are lots of perfectly sensible reasons for that.

Increased interest from pension funds would also be welcome news for existing investors in smaller companies through schemes like EIS, SEIS and VCTs – providing the next stage of funding to already successful start ups and potentially creating a new route to exit.

If pension funds can be encouraged to invest in UK startups, where they see genuinely attractive opportunities, that would be good news for everyone – pensioners, investors and entrepreneurs alike.

Excitement and potential for UK startup growth

Richard Robinson

CEO of Robin AI

This is a really exciting move. 

Opening up pensions to invest in high-growth UK startups, VCs and PEs could be a total game-changer. 

If up to £50bn is unlocked by 2030 as the government promises, our homegrown founders will get the fuel they need to build world-beating companies. 

As the US has shown, when pension funds flow into the venture capital industry, it creates a virtuous circle of innovation. This could transform the UK into a major tech powerhouse properly competing on the world stage with the likes of the US and China. Kudos to the Government for taking bold action to back British ingenuity and entrepreneurship.

The potential for transformation: proposals hold promise for UK economy

Tim Mills

Managing Partner of ACF Investors

By making this crucial announcement, the Chancellor is shining a spotlight on the importance of fast-growth technology companies to the UK’s economic health. 

Although it is clear that there is a lot of work to do, with the right commitments, the proposals have the potential to stimulate a huge boost in investment that will help to transform the UK economy. 

However, for these reforms to truly work and deliver genuinely long-term capital, they must be ring-fenced from the shifting short-term objectives of investor groups or the ever-changing political landscape.


These initiatives have the potential to reshape the investment landscape in the UK, providing a significant boost to startups and positioning the country as a vibrant hub for entrepreneurial activity.

As Chancellor Jeremy Hunt outlines his pension fund reform plan at the Mansion House, all eyes will be on the potential impact of these measures in supporting UK startups, attracting business investment, and stimulating economic growth.

Industry players have largely welcomed the proposed reforms but have expressed a desire for further details.

Written by:
Stephanie Lennox is the resident funding & finance expert at Startups: A successful startup founder in her own right, 2x bestselling author and business strategist, she covers everything from business grants and loans to venture capital and angel investing. With over 14 years of hands-on experience in the startup industry, Stephanie is passionate about how business owners can not only survive but thrive in the face of turbulent financial times and economic crises. With a background in media, publishing, finance and sales psychology, and an education at Oxford University, Stephanie has been featured on all things 'entrepreneur' in such prominent media outlets as The Bookseller, The Guardian, TimeOut, The Southbank Centre and ITV News, as well as several other national publications.

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