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Budget 2016: How Will it Impact UK Technology?
The Chancellor set his Budget clearly in his preferred scenario that the UK remains part of the EU. Of course, much depends on June’s Referendum. We at Tech City UK are keen to see a well-informed debate, and are compiling views from across the UK’s tech community. If you haven’t yet completed our EU Referendum survey, please do take a couple of minutes to do that – we’d be grateful for your input.
The Budget itself contains a range of measures to help small businesses, and you may already have read some of the coverage about what this means for our community, for example: extending business rates relief, cutting capital gains, expanding Entrepreneur Relief and abolishing class 2 National Insurance contributions for the self-employed. This is all good news for startup businesses and tech entrepreneurs.
The Chancellor also made a nod towards the realities of the digital economy, such as the £1,000 income tax allowance for property and trading income targeting the ‘micro-entrepreneurs’ of the digital economy, and the recognition that adults may need to re-skill as the digital economy disrupts the traditional labour market. (Of course, some of those workers looking to build their digital skills already turn to the Digital Business Academy).
Beyond these measures, the Budget itself contained little directly targeted on the tech sector. However, we know that there is more to come when the Government publishes its Digital Strategy, which is expected later this year. (See our blog at the end of 2015 which set out some of the ideas that we had already fed into the Government, to inform their planning).
The Chancellor’s Budget was set in the context of a challenging economic picture – global economic concerns, UK growth forecasts revised down and uncertainty about the UK’s future relationship with the EU. However, the global tech sector continues to grow, continues to innovate – and we want to see the UK continue to be at the forefront of tech innovation. Not least because digital technology is a driver of growth – UK’s Digital Tech Industries are growing 32% faster than the rest of the UK economy – not just in digital industries, but across sectors.
Tech City UK recently attended SxSW to showcase to the world what the UK has to offer and has been producing. Read more about that here.