The government says it is working “at breakneck speed” on a plan to keep UK tech firms caught up in Silicon Valley Bank’s demise from running out of cash.
The Treasury stated that it wanted to “minimize damage to some of our most promising companies in the UK” following the failure of the US bank last Friday.
On Friday, US regulators shut down the lender, the largest failure of a US bank since 2008.
The bank’s UK subsidiary will be declared bankrupt on Sunday evening.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, and Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey “were up late last night” and have been “working through the weekend to come up with a solution” to Silicon Valley Bank UK’s failure, Mr Hunt said on the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg.
While there is no threat to the UK’s financial system as a whole, “there is a serious risk to some of our most promising companies in technology and life sciences,” according to Mr Hunt.
“These are very important companies to the United Kingdom, and they are a very important part of our future.”
“We want to find a way to minimize or avoid all losses to those incredibly promising [firms],” Mr Hunt said, adding that he couldn’t guarantee that companies would recover all of their money.
He said the government was “working at pace” to bring forward a plan to make sure firms can meet their cashflow needs “within the next few days”.
According to him, this plan will allow businesses to pay their employees. “That’s the biggest request we’ve received in the last 24 hours.”
Labour’s shadow chancellor, Rachel Reeves, said firms needed to know right away how the government planned to assist them.
She stated that start-ups must pay wages and suppliers, and that some may face pressure on share prices or even lose investor confidence.
“We need to hear from the government tomorrow morning about how they are going to protect firms,” she said, referring to either guarantees or working with the US government on a bank rescue.
When asked if the government would have a solution by the time the markets opened on Monday, Prime Minister Mr Sunak responded, “The Treasury is working at pace.”