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Tech key to economic recovery

Micro Focus manifesto outlines recession-busting plans

By Steve Evans

UK software house Micro Focus has unveiled an ambitious plan to create 250,000 new technology jobs within the next 10 years as part of its Make Britain Great Again Technology Manifesto.

The company believes that technology will play a key part in hauling Britain out of the recession, but only if the government makes fiscal and regulatory changes that will encourage start ups and entrepreneurs.

Launching the manifesto at an event in the House of Lords, Micro Focus CEO Stephen Kelly said: “The last thing we want is a bail out, we are looking for is business-led entrepreneurship. The spirit of innovation in the UK is unparalleled, there are great ideas and products but they are not being monetised. We have great respect for UK tech companies, but why can’t there be 100 more? 200 more?”

The manifesto calls on the UK tech sector to create 250,000 new jobs over the next 10 years, a figure that Kelly believes could double due to the ‘ripple effect’ on other industries, such as law and HR.

The other ‘directional priorities’ outlined in the manifesto include encouraging technology leaders to coach would-be bosses of UK tech businesses; a radical change to the tax incentives available to companies or individuals wishing to invest in UK tech start-ups; the implementation of fiscal incentives for UK-founded tech firms looking to invest in onshore R&D; and to encourage international companies to invest in a UK hub.

The manifesto has received cross-party backing, with Lord Young of Graffham (Conservative), Lord Harris of Haringey (Labour) and Lord Razzall of Mortlake (Lib Dem) all offering their support at the launch.

Also present was IT veteran Richard Holway, chairman of analyst house TechMarketView. He noted that nine out of the top 10 software firms in the UK are from abroad and that a number of Indian firms hovering outside the top 10 would make the list soon.

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Micro Focus hopes to spend the next few months getting feedback on the manifesto and tweaking where necessary before presenting a fuller version during the party conference season later in the year. The firm is aiming for summer 2010 adoption.

“The UK is saddled with debt, decline, depleted industry and deteriorating employment, yet we have a great pedigree of innovation and IP-rich industries,” Kelly said. “Now more than ever is the time for business, politics and academia to create more UK jobs by joining forces to implement a plan which fosters talent, encourages fiscal support and inward investment to produce a world-class IP-rich technology industry which can truly make Britain great again.”

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