This article was originally posted on the Tech City UK website.
Today, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, delivered his summer Budget after what was an interesting March announcement for the digital economy. We’ve produced a short summary of what some of the changes and introductions in today’s Budget mean for tech ecosystems across the UK.
Digital Economy Centres
Since Tech Nation, there has been an increased focus from Westminster and No. 9 on the digital clusters growing across the UK. In the March budgetary proposals, pledges were made to create and implement tech hubs across the North of England.
In the Summer Budget, George Osborne has announced £23 million of funding for six Next Generation Digital Economy Centres (to be located in London, Swansea, Newcastle, Nottingham, York and Bath)
The SEIS, EIS and VCT schemes have all been an overwhelming success since their introduction, allowing startups, scale-ups and venture capitalists to get tax breaks on investment.
In the March Budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer suggested there may be some tweaks to each of the schemes which were further referenced in today’s announcement. You can read about the exact changes in the Government’s Tax-advantaged venture capital schemes: response to the consultation on ensuring continued support for small and growing businessesreport released this week.
Following the publication of the Unlocking the Sharing Economyreport in November 2014, Sharing Economy UK was launched to act upon its findings.
In today’s Budget, the Government announced an increase to the ‘rent-a-room’ tax relief, from £4,250 to £7,500. This will help maximise the business viability of sharing economy platforms such as SpareRoom for example.
Government Digital Service
With increased focus on smart cities and urban efficiencies in recent years, the Government Digital Service (GDS) is playing a bigger role than ever before. Today’s Budget announced seed funding will be allocated to the Cabinet Office to ‘deliver redesigned user-friendly public services, fit for the digital age’.
Finally, today’s Budget unveiled a change to the consultation process which was introduced in the Autumn Statement 2014, focusing on ‘whether to allow crowdfunded debt securities to be eligible for inclusion within Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs)’. The consultation has been extended to consider whether ‘equity investments offered via crowdfunding platforms should also be included in the list of ISA-eligible investments’.
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