High-tech UK business was one of the biggest winners in today's budget announcement by the Chancellor, according to a leading national trade body.
In his annual statement, George Osborne outlined a number of ways that technology and IT was being prioritised in the ongoing effort to get the economy growing strongly again and the moves have been broadly welcomed by the United Kingdom IT Association (UKITA), with a call for a fair portion of new funding to be spent through SME firms.
Money is to be made available to speed up the expansion of superfast broadband in ten key cities, with extra funds promised to improve data rates in smaller cities and for the spread of better wireless coverage in rural areas.
The technology-driven computer gaming and animation sectors also felt the strong support of the Chancellor, with tax breaks announced that will put it on a similar footing to the country's film industry. Early analysis suggests the move should safeguard and create thousands of jobs in the industry and increase its contribution to the economy by hundreds of millions of pounds.
UKITA chair, Helen Brewster, said: “The Government has recognised that we need to be a high technology economy to move out of the current doldrums and into a strong economic future. This is very positive. As always, the devil will be in the detail and we have to ensure that the promised funds filter through the system and get put to work efficiently. Of particular concern is how much of the investment will filter through to small and medium-sized IT and digital companies, such as those we represent, which are not always in the limelight, but which keep the IT engine of the UK turning.
“Technological excellence is something we can still lead the world on and it's highly encouraging that the Government has recognised and embraced this. As with everything, there is always more that can be done, but you can't have everything at once and today we must take these positives and demonstrate to the country as a whole what IT-based businesses can bring to the stability and growth of our economy.”
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Caption: Helen Brewster, chair of the United Kingdom IT Association.
The UK IT Association (UKITA) was established as the private sector organisation responsible for the development of a credible and thriving IT industry across the United Kingdom. Tracing its roots back to 1999, the name: United Kingdom IT Association (UKITA) was formally adopted in 2006.