How will the Spending Review and Budget affect scaleups?

Tech Nation, October 27, 2021 3 min read

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has today delivered the Spending Review and the Autumn Budget, setting out the Government’s spending priorities for the next three years.

This comes following an incredibly challenging 18 months for the whole of the UK, and for our international friends and colleagues. The pandemic has changed a great deal – from the way we work through to the relationship between business and government. 

But it has also provided an opportunity to reset, to recalibrate and to look to a shared future. The Spending Review and the Budget delivered today set out a bold plan to put technology, innovation and entrepreneurship at the heart of the Government’s ambition to build back better, smarter and greener. 

At Tech Nation, we are pleased to be able to support the UK’s founders and tech scaleups in their growth journey as they build this shared future. Since our establishment, we’ve delivered £500m in GVA, a return of £14 for every £1 invested by the Government. We’ve done that by working with hundreds of founders and businesses, including 29% of all UK tech unicorns ever created. 

Below is a summary of the measures and announcements from the Spending Review and the Budget relevant to Tech Nation, scaleups, and technology businesses and entrepreneurs across the whole of the UK. We can’t wait to work with you to continue to build this tech nation.

  • Skills and talent

The Government knows that access to talent is critical for the economy broadly, and for tech scaleups specifically. To this end, the Government will  introduce a new Scale-up Visa to attract highly skilled people from abroad to the UK’s “fastest growing businesses”. The new visa will allow firms with three years of 20% growth in either head count or revenue to sponsor visas. It will be open to applicants with a job offer with a salary of at least £33,000 and who pass a language proficiency test. 

The Government will also launch a Global Talent Network, starting in Silicon Valley, Boston and Bangalore. This Network will work with businesses and research institutions to source the talent the tech and science sectors need. It will also provide a concierge service to support tech talent moving to the UK.

Finally, the Government is aiming to quadruple the size of Skills Bootcamps, particularly in the digital sector.

  • R&D

The Chancellor announced that Government spending on R&D will go from £14.8bn a year now, to £20bn a year by 2024/25, and then to £22bn a year by 2026/27. This will be complemented by expanding the qualifying expenditure for R&D tax credits to include data and cloud computing costs to support cutting edge R&D methods. 

  • Government investment in tech and innovation

The Government announced a £1.4bn Global Britain Investment Fund to support new investment in manufacturing industries across the UK. This will include zero emission vehicles and life sciences. At Tech Nation, we know that these are some of the sectors that will solve key challenges, and is why we’ve run programmes like Net Zero. 

  • Access to finance

Access to finance throughout a tech scaleup’s life is critical, from creation to listing. The Chancellor announced an additional £312m a year to maintain the Start Up Loans Scheme which will support 33k entrepreneurs. 

This will be augmented by more than £1.4bn for the British Business Bank. This money will have a particular focus on supporting Regional Funds and the Regional Angels Fund. At Tech Nation we think this is fantastic: access to capital, particularly outside of London, is one of the major limiting factors in the UK tech sector’s continued growth. 

Lastly, the Chancellor confirmed there will be a further consultation on the pension charge cap. This will potentially support institutional investors to deploy more capital into venture capital and the wider technology ecosystem. 

  • Digital infrastructure

The tech sector, and its customers, need the right infrastructure to be able to access the enormous benefits of innovation. To this end, the Government is committing an additional £1.2bn for gigabit broadband. Further, the Chancellor committed to a £114m increase in the National Cyber Security Programme which will support businesses to access tech.

  • Fintech 

The Government will seed fund a new Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT). The CFIT will focus on the priorities set out in the Kalifa Review, tackling barriers to growth and accelerating the UK fintech sector. The Government has also announced that the Bank Levy Annual Allowance is rising to £100m, which will support the neobanks. 

For more information on Government Resources please visit our round-up on the Tech Nation website.