The 2017 autumn budget was a bag of mixed fortunes for the UK – eliciting both praise and scathing criticism from the press and public in the days following the announcements.
Highlights included the abolishment of stamp duty for first time buyers on properties up to £300,000, benefitting 95% of the applicable audience. Conversely, there was criticism aimed at Chancellor Philip Hammond from sectors representing childcare and teaching unions for the Governments perceived failure to address the lack of investment in preceding years.
The Government also revised the growth forecast for the economy for 2017 down from 2% to 1.5% and made further downgrade revisions to forecasts for the following four years. With the UK braced to leave the EU and much uncertainty still remaining, this was an important budget for the government to give indications as to where economic growth could be driven in the next half decade.
This budget gave clear signs as the importance of the digital technology sector and the commitment of the government to drive further growth in an area Theresa May believes the UK is “world-class”.
Highlights for the tech sector included:
- £500m support for 5G mobile networks, full fibre broadband and artificial intelligence
- £540m to support the growth of electric cars, including more charging points in cities across the country
- £2.3bn allocated for investment in research and development of new technologies
- £30m to develop digital skills from distance learning courses
- Doubling to 2,000 the number of visas available to the brightest and best talent from around the world, including in digital technology
This follows news announced just before the release of the autumn budget of £21 million of Government funding to expand Tech City UK into a nationwide network dubbed ‘Tech Nation’, which is tasked to accelerate the growth of the digital technology sector across the UK. Prime Minister Theresa May said “Our digital tech sector is one of the UK’s fastest-growing industries, and is supporting talent, boosting productivity, and creating hundreds of thousands of good, high-skilled jobs up and down the country”.
These investments are sure to accelerate the pace of the 4th industrial revolution, with innovations and developments in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning Robotics, Cybersecurity and Cloud Computing poised to come from UK businesses in the next few years. It is encouraging also that the Government is taking a proactive approach to addressing the perceived skills gap in the UK market by taking steps to attract the brightest and best talent from across the globe.
As a Cloud-first technology business committed to embracing and investing in technology innovations in partnership with UK businesses, Ingram Micro is the ideal partner of choice for companies looking to take advantage of the Government’s commitment to the tech sector and embrace the intelligent future of Cloud.
To learn more about Ingram Micro and some of our upcoming events and activities, visit our website at www.ingrammicrocloud.co.uk/events