19 Mar

UK Budget 2015 – Digital Developments Across Tech Nation

Today the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, unveiled his final budget before the general election with some great news for tech. Here’s our summary of today’s big announcements. 

Last month we launched the first Tech Nation report in Leeds with Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne. Today’s Budget announcement both increases the strength of London as a leading tech capital and boosts the regional digital clusters featured in the report with clear support for increased collaboration and connectivity between cities, as well as direct acknowledgement of our findings.

With 1.46 million people in digital employment across the country, extra powers and responsibility for business growth for cities is intrinsic to developing vibrant tech clusters. More specifically, the government has pledged to support the development of innovative businesses throughout the north of England, with an £11 million investment in incubators in Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield.

Here is how the investment breakdown will look:

• Sheffield ‘Maker Hub’ – £3.5 million government investment to renovate a former Co-op department store in the Castlegate area
• Leeds ‘Future Labs’ – £3.7 million government investment to renovate a derelict police headquarters in the heart of Leeds, creating a 6 floor incubator
• Manchester ‘Forward Plan’ – £4 million government investment towards an 8 floor incubator in Federation House, located in Manchester’s Northern Quarter

Members of the Tech City UK Cluster Alliance such as Doug Ward, Lee Strafford, Shaun Gibson, Emma Cheshire and Steve Wainwright have worked tirelessly to push these proposals through and it’s so positive to see the fruits of their collective labour.

Further commitments to support FinTech, high growth companies, driverless cars (£100m in R&D funding), the Internet of Things (£40m funding), business rate reviews and rollout of ultrafast broadband (of at least 100mps) to ‘nearly all UK homes’, demonstrate the government’s recognition of the strength and depth of our UK-wide proposition.

The Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec) also recognised a positive tweak to the SEIS scheme, commenting, “In a welcome change, which we called for in our Startup Manifesto, the requirement for companies to spend 70% of funds raised under SEIS before being able to raise under EIS is being scrapped.”

You can read the Budget 2015 in full here.

Posted in General by jcramond@britishchamber.com
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