Tech leaders react to Chancellor's speech
Ritam Gandhi, Director and Founder, Studio Graphene, commented: “The Spring Statement has been wedged between two important Brexit votes, and I have no doubt many people would have overlooked the Chancellor’s speech. As anticipated, the Spring Statement was light on substance, with many of the UK’s industries not mentioned.”
Gandhi continued: “Yet, as one of the few new policies that were pulled out of the red briefcase, there was some good news for the tech industry, namely, a commitment to make sure the UK is at the forefront of science and innovation through a substantial investment package. What’s more, the Chancellor has remained committed in ensuring the digital marketplace is not dominated by tech giants, offering a preliminary response to the findings announced today by the Digital Competition Expert Panel.
“Much of what the Chancellor has announced today will be determined by the coming fortnight’s unfolding events; after all, renewed calls for a general election could derail Hammond’s plans. But for now, given Westminster’s fixation on Brexit over the last 12 months, it was at least positive to see a commitment to funding for innovation, free from the tired and cumbersome semantics of the Brexit debate we have been hearing on a daily basis. The digital industry is one of the most important parts of the UK economy and the Government is right to do all it can to support innovation without restricting growth with excessive red tape.”
Nikolas Kairinos, CEO and Founder, Fountech.ai, added: “Dubbed by the Chancellor himself as something of a “fiscal non-event”, today’s speech was predictably short and light on meaningful announcements. That said, there were a couple of positives to take away, and the tech sector will perhaps be most pleased by the contents of the Spring Statement.
“Firstly, the allocation of £200 million to ensure the UK remains at the forefront of innovation and research will instill some confidence in the market and shows the Government has not forgotten about tech companies driving innovation. Secondly, the Chancellor reiterated his commitment to democratising the digital marketplace so that organisations of all sizes are able to compete on a level playing field, with the Digital Competition Expert Panel releasing the findings of its review today.
“Hopefully, we should see the Government build upon these commitments over the coming 12 months, and they will hopefully take note of the findings of the digital competition report. Regardless of what shape or form Brexit might take, there’s no denying the importance of the tech industry as key driver of productivity and growth for the UK economy. Hammond was right to provide a boost to the sector in today’s speech, and they must continue to offer support to ensure the country remains a digital powerhouse on the world stage.”