All eyes and ears where this week turned towards Downing Street for the presentation of the Budget 2017 by Chancellor Philip Hammond.
He has announced the Government’s plans to set aside £500m for technology, innovation and robotics to keep Britain competitive after Brexit.
What does the Budget mean for the technology industry and our clients?
- What recession?
The UK was the second-fastest growing economy in the G7 in 2016, with digital tech industries growing 32% faster than the rest of the economy. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) now forecasts that the UK economy will grow by a further 2% in 2017.
- For our small but equally as important customers…
A fund of £435m has been allocated for firms affected by increases in business rates and an additional fund provided by local authorities of £300m hardship fund for small businesses worst affected by the rate change. All good news for small businesses and tech entrepreneurs.
- Keeping the UK as a technology leader!
Funds have been put aside for ‘disruptive technologies’ such as £270 million for the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. This fund will support research and innovation in universities and businesses, in areas such as developing ‘cutting edge’ artificial intelligence and robotics. The Government is also looking at a new strategy to make the UK a world leader in 5G technology. Mr Hammond has outlined £16 million to be put aside for a national 5G Innovation Network to trial new 5G technology and £200 million for local projects to build fast and reliable full-fibre broadband networks.
As the global technology industry continues to grow and innovate, it’s reassuring to know the Government is backing the UK tech industry with the Budget 2017. With the possibility that a post-Brexit loss of EU funding could have an impact on the UK’s position as a technology leader, such important investment from the UK Government should enable the UK to continue to be at the forefront of technological innovation for years to come.