(Bloomberg) -- U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued a rallying cry for the nation’s institutional investors to plow 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 U.K. 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 liberalization of finance made London the unrivaled 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 U.K. 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 U.K. Infrastructure Bank and the forthcoming green bond plan.

We “want to see U.K. pension savers benefiting from the fruits of U.K. 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 recognized the quality that other countries see in the U.K., 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.

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