Osborne must “end neglect” of tech sector in Budget

Manufacturers and investors have called on the Chancellor to introduce measures to support the technology sector in tomorrow’s Budget.

Osborne must "end neglect" of tech sector in Budget

Tudor Aw: End neglect of tech sector

They maintain that the Government has a responsibility to ensure that technology start-ups get the support they need to compete in global markets.

They are also looking for fresh ideas to address the continuing need for STEM skills and apprenticeship schemes in the tech jobs market.

“The technology sector has been neglected in recent budgets,” said Tudor Aw, technology sector head at KPMG.

“If the UK is to punch above its weight on the global tech scene we need to see bolder proposals that will help start-ups get off the ground and back STEM skills and apprenticeship schemes,” said Aw.

“Without a comprehensive people and digital infrastructure strategy in place, we risk falling behind in hot areas, such as nanotechnology, internet of things and driverless cars.”

UK manufacturers are calling for the reform of business rates which will see the removal of plant and machinery from rateable calculations.

It is believed this will help smaller manufacturers in the electronics sector, for example, to scale up there business as work moves on-shore from China.

Ahead of the budget, Lee Hopley, chief economist at the EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, described manufacturers’ investment intentions as “subdued”.

Lee Hopley

Lee Hopley: Government needs to act now to anchor manufacturing in the UK

“Government needs to act now to remove this tax on investment and help to anchor manufacturing in the UK,” said Hopley.

“Our evidence shows that removing plant and machinery from the calculation of business rates could help tip the balance for some companies, notably small manufacturers looking to scale up, and large manufacturers facing international competition,” said Hopley.

The EEF has surveyed its members and reports that 42% of companies say they would invest more if plant and machinery were removed from the calculation of business rates.

Those more likely to up their investment are manufacturers with a turnover of below £5m (51%) and those with a turnover over £50m+ (52%). These figures are additional to investment already planned.

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