High-tech industry drives UK away from recession

High-tech industry drives UK away from recession
Latest reports on health of UK sees high-tech industry benefiting from unprecedented growth; “The main message is one of great optimism,” says Deloitte & Touche survey. Alex Mayhew-Smith The UK is emerging from the risk of recession on the back of a reshaped high-tech industry, according to several reports out this week. A study by Deloitte & Touche says the high-tech industry is benefiting from unprecedented growth, with the UK’s top 50 fastest growing technology companies recording an average increase in turnover of 1,857 per cent from 1995 to 1997. At the same time, the government released figures showing a 0.1 per cent increase in gross domestic product, which analysts say means the country has avoided a recession. “The main message from this survey is one of great optimism. The UK has a technology business that is driven by highly focused entrepreneurs,” said William Touche, a partner with Deloitte & Touche. Scotland is doing particularly well with one quarter of the top 50 firms located in the area, higher than in London and the south east. Other evidence of the UK’s burgeoning high-tech industry came from the Invest in Britain Bureau (IBB) which reported an increase in overseas investment in UK high-tech firms. “We looked back over the past three months to test our drive in attracting high-tech investments rather than large scale manufacturing jobs. Britain is doing exceptionally well,” said an IBB spokesman. The IBB reported a 39 per cent rise in overseas high-tech investments compared to the first quarter of 1997. “Hopefully this news adds to the government’s White Paper. It makes clear where we are going,” added the spokesman. The White Paper was introduced to encourage start-ups and investments in the high-tech industry. However, a note of caution was offered by the Federation of Electronics Industry (FEI). “It depends what products you are selling, what industry you are serving. The fastest growing is the mobile telecoms market but if you are involved in the infrastructure – basestations – side of the market, it is not growing as fast as other areas,” said Richard Hinds, the FEI’s components director.


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