Yesterday, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond gave the first Autumn Statement post-Brexit referendum, revealing new plans to boost Britain’s tech industry.
Hammond announced the government will be dishing out £400m of government finance to British startups in the form of venture capital.
This is a move the government hopes will prevent foreign investors from purchasing some of Britain’s best tech companies.
Hammond said: “I am taking a first step to tackle the long-standing problem of our fastest growing technology firms being snapped up by bigger companies, rather than growing to scale.
“This will be done by injecting an additional £400m into venture capital funds through the British Business Bank, unlocking £1bn of new finance for growing firms.”
The government is also said to be investing a further £2bn into research and development by 2020, with funds expected to be pushed towards tech like AI, robotics and autonomous vehicles.
A further £23bn is also expected to go towards things like digital communications, housing, transport and research over the next five years.
And although response to this news has been mostly positive, some have raised concerns that this new funding could prevent skilled workers outside Britain from being able to apply for jobs.
The co-founder of Animal Dynamics Limited, Alex Caccia, said: “A budget for R&D without clarity on whether people from overseas and Europe in particular can apply for jobs is meaningless as the bulk of that budget will be spent on people who have the skills to undertake research and development, and frankly today there are more people outside England with talent than in the U.K.”
This said, others are seeing the positives from the Autumn Statement announcement, admitting that although Britain is in a state of unease following Brexit, this new funding could help ease minds over what Article 50 may bring.
CEO of Tech City UK, Gerard Grech, said: “The British Government has shown that it is actively listening to the needs of those in the tech community, who are busy working to build businesses that have the potential to be global winners, as well as transforming many of our traditional industries.
“We are delighted to see the Government investing £400 million into Venture Capital Funds via the British Business Bank.
“This growth capital will unlock at least £1 billion from the venture capital community and enable startups to scale effectively in a globally competitive sector.”
To read more about yesterday’s Autumn Statement please click here.