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3 tech lessons from the Autumn Statement

What tech workers need to know about George Osborne's speech to parliament.

By Jimmy Nicholls

Today’s Autumn Statement by George Osborne, the British chancellor of the exchequer, is certain to stir controversy in all business sectors. But what do the policies outlined in the speech foreshadow for the tech sector? CBR asked the experts.

1. Start-ups and STEM educators receive boost

The UK tech sector is always agitating for more investment and attention, and has frequently complained about a dearth of talent and draconian migration policies restricting its growth. Julian David, chief executive of trade body techUK reckons today’s announcements are a good thing for the country, particularly in the north of England.

"Innovation is key to growth and the government is right to encourage SMEs who invest in R&D through supercharged tax credits," he said. "We also welcome the government’s initiatives to reverse the decline in UK students undertaking STEM masters courses and the new £45m programme to encourage new companies exporting for the first time – both of which we called for in our techUK manifesto."

2. More guidance needed for small firms

While start-ups provoke excitement larger firms do not, some are urging the government to look beyond Silicon Roundabout. "SMBs are the backbone of the UK economy so it’s critical that they are equipped to successfully turn disruptive concepts into commercially viable ideas," Lee Wade, CEO at networking firm Exponential-e.

"Providing better access to funding is part of the solution, but the UK also needs to foster a culture of innovation," he added. This means making the country an attractive place to work and invest in, which will provide the job growth the government is anxious to stimulate.

3. NHS £2bn should be invested in tech

The National Health Service is always subject of controversy in British budgets, with politicians often pressured to put more money into the system. This time round an extra £2bn has been pledged, and some are calling for it to be put into computing efficiency, particularly the aim to make the service paperless by 2018.

"Technology is vital to drive efficiency, produce cost savings and improve patient care," said Tony Speakman, regional director at software vendor FileMaker International. "Investing money in small efficiency improvements in a timely and cost effective manner will be a much more effective use of funding than either large IT projects or the abandonment of technology."

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