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The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement outlined proposals for reform to Venture Capital Trusts and Enterprise Investment Scheme, which would encourage investment in the UK’s Small and Medium Enterprises. A report has been published which supports amendments to the schemes.

George Osborne proposed that more companies become eligible for investment from Venture Capital Trusts, which the report supports. Currently, only companies with less than 50 employees will receive VCT funding, which will now increase to companies with up to 250 employees. Maximum assets of a company were previously restricted to £78 million, but will be increased to £15 million. The amount which a company could receive from VCT was capped at £2 million but will now increase to £10 million.

The director general of the Association of Investment Companies, Ian Sayers said:

“Our enthusiasm for the positive measures set out today is tempered by proposals which may restrict VCT investment in buy-outs.”

Sayers went on to stress the importance of the deals when an existing owner of a SME is either unable or unwilling to develop their business. In cases like this, a VCT collaborates with an existing or a new team to inject new ideas, enthusiasm and necessary skills to revitalise business potential.

The report also gave an indication of new regulation for the new Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme. Companies must be two years old or less, with less than 25 employees. At the time of investment, assets of the company must be worth less than £200,000.

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