Hammond delivers tech-inspired Budget
Written by Chris Lemmon
Phillip Hammond delivered his Autumn Budget today, announcing new investment for digital startup and scale-up firms.
Hammond said: “Last Autumn I launched the National Productivity Investment Fund, to provide an additional £23 billion of investment over five years to upgrade Britain’s economic infrastructure for the 21st Century. Today I can announce that I will extend this fund for a further year and expand it to over £31 billion.”
He also confirmed that investment in research and development would receive an allocation of £2.3 billion, with an aim of increasing R&D investment across the economy to 2.4 per cent of GDP.
He also outlined rises in business rates would be pegged to the CPI measure of inflation rather than the higher RPI measure and that the VAT threshold for small business would remain at £85,000 for two years.
Stephen Jones, chief executive of UK Finance, commented: “At a time when there is still much uncertainty about the nature of the UK’s relationship with the EU and the impact this will have on future cross-border trade this was rightly a Budget focused on investing in UK plc.
“For business, an ‘Action Plan’ to unlock over £20 billion of new investment in UK-based high growth and scale-up firms, in conjunction with £500 million to support tech initiatives, will provide a significant lift for the UK’s economy.”
Tudor Aw, UK head of tech sector at KPMG, added: “The Chancellor has characterised today’s budget as one that is “fit for the future”. In that context, it is hugely encouraging that the tech sector sits at the heart of that future. Commitments to emerging technology such as 5G, AI and data science is to be applauded, but it is important that core technology businesses are not forgotten in the chase for the next shiny toy.
“In particular, the UK has strengths in ‘old-school’ tech sub-sectors such as software, IT services and semi-conductor technology. Tech investment should therefore be made in education, regulation, tax and other incentives to ensure our strength in the tech sector is broad based and not just those areas that sit at the top of the latest hype curve.”