November 15, 2017 // 10:48 a.m.
Prime Minister Theresa May and Chancellor Phillip Hammond have announced what is described as 'a new package of support' for the UK technology industry, including £11 million investment for the expansion of Tech City, £20 million for public services to engage with the tech sector, and a £20 million training programme in cyber security for 14-18 year olds.
'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,' claimed May during a speech announcing a programme of initiatives designed to boost said sector. 'It is absolutely right that this dynamic sector, which makes such an immense contribution to our economic life and to our society, has the full backing of Government. Helping our world-class entrepreneurs and innovators to succeed is how we lay the foundations for our prosperity and build an economy fit for the future.
'Technology is at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy, and we will continue to invest in the best new innovations and ideas, in the brightest and best talent, and in revolutionary digital infrastructure. And as we prepare to leave the European Union, I am clear that Britain will remain open for business. 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 offerings on the table include: a doubling from 1,000 to 2,000 in the number of visas available to high-talent individuals across the globe, with the promise of an investigation into how companies outside London can take advantage of this talent pool; £21 million to expand Tech City, the area of East London home to many of the UK's top technology companies, into Tech Nation with Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, and Birmingham to benefit from a claimed 40,000 entrepreneur across 4,000 startups; £20 million for public services looking to take advantage of 'innovative technologies', including artificial intelligence; a £20 million training programme for 14-18 year olds to 'test their skills against simulated online cyber threats;' and a £2 million voucher scheme to boost broadband connectivity in Aberdeenshire, Bristol, Bath, North East Somerset, Coventry, Warwickshire, and West Yorkshire.
'Britain is a world leader in digital innovation with some of the brightest and best tech firms operating in this country,' claimed Chancellor Phillip Hammond in support of the announcement. 'Working with us, they can provide technological fixes to public sector problems, boost productivity, and get the nation working smarter as we create an economy fit for the future.'