Top Three Budget Take-Aways For Tech
The technology sector was only briefly mentioned in George Osborne’s Budget last week. However a commitment to the digital objectives set out in the Autumn Statement was still visible. We’ve outlined the three key points that will affect tech companies – both big and small.
Some Brits are yet to access a 4G network service but the Chancellor promised a 5G strategy will be announced as early as 2017. While 5G itself is not expected to arrive until at least 2020, the Government is placing a huge emphasis on becoming a “world leader” – alongside counties like South Korea – in 5G deployment and mobile services.
The budget also commits to provisions for “greater freedoms and flexibilities for the deployment of mobile infrastructure” – in other words, relaxed planning restrictions for telecoms networks. This will allow taller masts for mobile coverage, significantly improving mobile networks. This will give a critical boost for the app sector which has suffered from connectivity issues.
Broadband investment fund
The Chancellor also announced the launch of a new Broadband Investment Fund, which will work with private-sector companies to drive the growth of alternative broadband networks. There has been little disclosed about how much money will be invested or who will be affected. We’ll be keeping our eye on this one.
Championing coding – a boost for key skills
Coding was incorporated into the national curriculum during the last coalition Government and the Tories promise to continue to invest in digital skills desperately needed by the technology industry. In the Budget, Osborne outlined plans to establish a panel of experts to shape the £20m Institute for Coding competition. This programme will help young people not only gain digital skills but learn to code securely.
The government is also pledging extra funding to support adults who wish to study any qualification up to PhD level, with a particular focus on STEM subjects.
Digital technology is a significant driver of growth – the UK’s Digital Tech Industries are growing 32% faster than the rest of the UK economy. Some of the commitments made on Wednesday were positive but we will be closely watching the measures in the Government’s Digital Strategy later this year for real pledges for progress.