The UK must do all it can to give some certainty to businesses amid the “current uncertainty” arising from Brexit – and committing to more research and development at the national level could be crucial to doing just that.
That was the message sent to MPs this week by the trade body for the UK technology industry, techUK.
The body’s Head of Public Affairs, Tom Morrison-Bell, told the Science & Technology Committee this week that the Chancellor could do that by using his forthcoming Budget to set out a specific roadmap for how it’ll meet its own target of spending 2.4% of GDP on R&D.
The attractiveness of the UK’s R&D regime has been a key factor in both the development of world-leading UK tech companies, such as ARM, and securing significant investment from the world’s most innovative tech companies, Morrison-Bell stated.
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And with the Brexit clock “counting down”, the techUk representative also stressed the need for the UK to remain as internationally competitive as possible, especially given the relatively “footloose” nature of many digital and tech firms.
Digitisation could also be one of the few short-term levers the government has for tackling the UK’s chronic productivity problem, he claimed, adding that “demand-side initiatives” should be looked at from government to help with the uptake of productivity, something he thinks could in turn start enhancing digital technologies for businesses in all sectors.
And repeating earlier warnings, techUK also stressed how important it is that the country remains part of the European Investment Fund, with a third of venture capital invested in UK startups between 2009-2015 coming from this source alone.