UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture: REUTERS/JAMES GLOSSOP
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture: REUTERS/JAMES GLOSSOP

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued a rallying cry for the nation’s institutional investors to plough money into British companies and create a “big bang” that powers a recovery from the pandemic.

In a joint letter with chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak, Johnson called for “hundreds of billions of pounds” to be unleashed into longer-term UK assets, including “pioneering firms and infrastructure”. That would help secure better retirements for pensioners and support an “innovative, greener future”, he said.

The language evokes the “Big Bang” of the 1980s, when Margaret Thatcher’s liberalisation of finance made London the unrivalled financial hub of Europe. It’s also Johnson’s answer to criticism that his plans to bridge income gaps between London and the rest of the nation are too vague. Relying on investors would avoid further strain on the Treasury, which borrowed at record rates during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Johnson and Sunak said UK investors are missing out on the returns from opportunities, leaving their international peers to reap the rewards. The prime minister flagged opportunities offered by the UK Infrastructure Bank and the forthcoming green bond plan.

We “want to see UK pension savers benefiting from the fruits of UK ingenuity and enterprise, being given the opportunity to back British success stories, and secure higher returns and better retirements”, the two wrote.

“It’s time we recognised the quality that other countries see in the UK, and back ourselves by investing more money into the companies and infrastructure that will drive growth and prosperity across our country.”

Those who commit to specific investments will be invited to a summit in Downing Street in October, the letter said.

Bloomberg News. More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

subscribe

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.