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Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, delivered his Spring Budget today (Wednesday 6 March 2024), announcing the Government’s plans for the economy. Overall, we welcome the direction of travel of the Spring Budget, with the inclusion of some measures that seek to improve the UK’s capital markets.

In this note, we highlight some of the key developments that may be of interest to small and mid-sized quoted companies and public equity market participants in general, as well as some notable areas that were missing from the Budget.

Key measures included in the Spring Budget

DC Pension Reforms

The government plans to introduce requirements for Defined Contribution pension funds to provide public disclosures on where their investments go. This reform is designed to redivert pension funding back into UK equities, which, according to the Treasury’s estimates, has dropped to around 6% of their asset allocation. The Chancellor provided details on a consultation on these measures.

Alongside this, the government will create the same requirements for Local Government Pension Scheme funds in England and Wales from April of this year. Further, if the data that emerges from these disclosures shows that UK equity allocations are not increasing, the Government states that it will consider what further action it might take.

It is vital that capital reaches domestic smaller growth companies, and we welcome the government’s approach in this area. We believe that this proposal, in combination with the Mansion House compact that commits some of the largest DC pension funds to allocate 5% of their portfolio to unlisted equities, will help in deepening the pool of capital available to UK public companies.

British ISA

The Government announced the launch of a new UK ISA which aims to provide opportunities to individuals to invest money directly into UK-focused businesses. The new UK ISA will add on an additional tax-free £5,000 on top of the current £20,000 allowance for investment into UK companies.

The Government has opened a consultation to set out how to implement and define the UK ISA. We will endeavour to engage with the Treasury over the course of the consultation period.

The ISA allowance has not increased since 2017. The creation of a British ISA, and the increase to the allowance, is a welcome step. We, alongside many others, advocated for a British ISA and the increase to the allowance in the lead up to the Budget. We hope that the reforms will benefit small and mid-sized quoted companies through increased investment into the UK’s capital markets. 

NatWest share sale

Following the announcement in the Autumn Statement on the proposed NatWest share sale, the government reaffirmed their intention to deliver the sale, which may come as early as summer this year. However, it is stated that this is subject to favourable market conditions to ensure full value for the taxpayer.

The Government reiterates its commitment to fully divest from its shareholdings in NatWest Group, providing a clear timeframe for full exit by 2025-26.

Private Intermittent Securities and Capital Exchange System (PISCES)

The Spring Budget builds on the Autumn Statement 2023 policies of channelling more capital into the UKs equity markets. The Government has published a consultation on proposals for a new Private Intermittent Securities and Capital Exchange System (PISCES). The new venue will allow private companies to trade their shares on an intermittent basis, with the aim of allowing these companies to scale and grow, and ultimately boost the IPO pipeline in the UK.

We will be responding to the consultation, which closes on 17 April 2024.

Key measures missing from the Spring Budget

Stamp Duty

In our Budget representation we called for the scrapping of Stamp Duty on share trades outside the FTSE 100. We are disappointed that the Chancellor has decided against implementing this reform. We estimated that the cost in tax revenue to the Treasury would amount to only £650million, and would result in a significant boost to investments in smaller company stocks, alongside achieving greater parity for the UK with its international competitors. 


We were disappointed to see that no further information was set out in this Budget on the Digitisation Taskforce. The Taskforce, which was established in 2022 with the aim of digitising the UK’s shareholding framework, set out a list of proposals in its interim report.

The Government is yet to respond to industry feedback on the proposed reforms contained in the Taskforce’s report and has not provided a roadmap for their implementation. It is important that progress on these key changes to the UK’s share ownership infrastructure does not stall.

Investment Research Review

The Government stated in the 2023 Autumn Statement that it would be consulting on the Investment Research Review’s proposed recommendations in 2024. The review, which looked at the provision of equity research in the UK, provided a series of proposals designed to increase the availability of equity research, particularly of smaller companies.

This Budget offered no information on the proposed consultation, and we are still awaiting details on this. We strongly welcomed the Investment Research Review’s proposals, which included the creation of an equity research platform, and urge the Government to not lose momentum on these vital reforms.

If you have any questions in relation to any of the above, please get in touch with the QCA’s Policy team by emailing,, or  

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