Budget Blow for Venture Capital Trusts Could Scupper [Pounds Sterling]1.3bn of Private Equity

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), March 6, 2011 | Go to article overview

Budget Blow for Venture Capital Trusts Could Scupper [Pounds Sterling]1.3bn of Private Equity


Byline: Helen Loveless

THE Government is being urged ahead of this month's Budget to protect the tax status of venture capital trusts to avoid hitting small firms.

VCTs are investment schemes providing private equity capital for small, expanding businesses. They are listed on the London Stock Exchange and investors in VCTs receive tax relief of 30 per cent, providing they hold the shares for at least five years.

Rules dictating which companies can be helped by VCTs are under scrutiny by the Government with Chancellor George Osborne last week questioning the merits of VCTs and their benefit to growth businesses.

The Association of Investment Companies says that VCTs have put [pounds sterling]1.3 billion into small firms over the past ten years, equivalent to an average of [pounds sterling]1.8 million for each of the 750 firms invested in. The association says VCTs fill a clear funding gap for firms that are beyond the start-up stage.

Patrick Reeve is boss of Albion Ventures, which manages [pounds sterling]230 million through nine VCTs, investing in sectors from pubs to spas to retirement homes. Via a VCT it recently invested in a gym in West Kensington, London, called 37 Degrees.

Reeve says: 'We try to balance our portfolio between stable, cash-rich firms and higher-risk, growth-tech companies. …

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