UK Government announces $80M in tech initiatives ahead of Brexit

Lloyd Doyle
November 15, 2017

Speaking at The Times Tech Summit in London, the digital minister Matt Hancock said that Tech City UK and Tech North would be renamed Tech Nation and would expand to 11 clusters around the country.

The prime minister has announced a range of measures designed to boost the technology industry, including an extra 1,000 visas for talented digital professionals and a £20m fund to help private-sector companies create products to solve public-sector challenges.

The Home Office will look at how it can work with organisations across the United Kingdom to ensure wider take up of the additional visas outside London.

Mrs May praised the "immense contribution to our economic life and to our society" made by tech firms.

It will be investing £21 million into its startup quango, Tech City UK, as well as doubling the number of visas the UK offers to skilled foreign workers, amid fears that Brexit will cut off the country's access to a digitally-skilled workforce from overseas. "That means Government doing all it can to secure a strong future for our thriving tech sector and ensure people in all corners of our nation share in the benefits of its success".

The UK government is also planning to spend a total of £61 million to help the country's tech industry in three key areas. Local companies will be among those offered vouchers by broadband suppliers to pay for gold-standard full-fibre gigabit connections, to help revolutionise our digital infrastructure and make it fit for the future. He said that the other new centres would be announced in the Budget next week.

As part of its plans, the government will also double the amount of visas available for high-skilled workers from outside the European Union following Brexit.

According to reports, the digital sector in the country has voiced concerns that Brexit, and in particular the ending of free movement, could threaten London's status as the leading European destination for tech start-ups and investment by major Internet groups.

"This new funding is an important part of our plans to make the United Kingdom the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business, with the benefits spread right across the country", said minister for digital Matt Hancock.

For example, the Government body Innovate UK funds, supports and connects businesses, research and entrepreneurs across the country, but has 300 staff and an annual investment budget of over £560m. The money will be used to grow Tech City UK, the government-sponsored body that promotes the UK's tech sector, into a national organisation; for the objective of helping the public sector adopt new technology.

"This regional network will accelerate the growth of the digital tech sector, cement the pipeline of talent and spark the next generation of innovative firms to seize the future opportunities of digitisation - bringing jobs, skills and higher productivity to our regions".

Tech City UK chairwoman Eileen Burbidge said: "We are delighted to hear that the Government wants to increase Tech City UK's funding for the next four years". Nominations are now open for the Women in IT USA Awards 2018.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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