With a tech-friendly Autumn Budget, Chancellor Phillip Hammond demonstrated his and the UK Government’s commitment to the technology industry. An investment of £500 million will be delivered for technological initiatives ranging from artificial intelligence, to 5G and full fibre broadband. According to Hammond “productivity performance continues to disappoint” and this investment in the tech sector will provide a necessary solution.
In order to remain competitive in the global economy, it becomes highly important that increased funds go towards UK’s digital economy. “For the first time in decades, Britain is genuinely at the forefront of this technological revolution. In universities, factory floors and businesses parkers,” Hammond said. “But we must invest to secure that bright future for Britain and win this Budget. That is what we intend to do.” Adoption of autonomous and electric cars, develop new 5G networks, treble the number of computer science teachers and further research into AI and robotics are right at the centre of attempts to make Brexit an economic success.
Technology is the way forward
“Underestimate Britain at your peril,” Hammond said, the heart of Britain is her “dynamic and innovative economy”. With a particular focus on investing in technology, government has placed the technology at the heart of its political strategy.
A new tech business is funded every hour and I want that to be every half hour,” Hammond said in his speech. “So today we invest over £500 million in a range of initiatives from artificial intelligence to 5G and full-fibre broadband.” The Government has committed £385 million for projects which will develop next generation 5G mobile and full-fibre broadband networks. £160 million will go towards new 5G infrastructure including £10 million to create testing facilities and £5 million for an initial trial starting in 2018 to test 5G applications and deployment on roads.
Artificial intelligence has the power to transform business operations, and support transformation. Darren Roos, president, SAP ERP Cloud on investment in artificial intelligence said:
“The government’s pledge today for artificial intelligence is highly welcomed and a necessity not just for the tech sector but the UK economy as a collective. The UK’s productivity woes need little introduction, but the arrival of artificial intelligence and automation can go some way to addressing these. Let’s be clear, this pledge from the government today is a step in the right direction but the UK is in a global race when it comes to the adoption of AI technology, and it cannot afford to lose. While today’s pledge is an excellent start, other countries are investing far more in AI. Today’s pledge from government must act as a catalyst for cross-industry investment in this technology, with bold new ways of working created and AI front and centre.”
To meet the challenge of tomorrow head on, “we need the skills,” said Hammond. The Chancellor announced three million apprenticeships to start by 2020, the introduction of the much-anticipated T-levels and a further £20 million for FE colleges to help them to prepare for this. “Knowledge of maths is key in hi-tech, cutting edge jobs,” continued Hammond. To help entice more students into maths, the Budget will help extend maths initiatives to 3,000 school and commit 40 million to train math teachers across country.
Computer science is also at heart of the impending revolution, and Hammond announced that every secondary school pupil can now take this, with his plan was to triple the number of trained computer science teachers to 12,000.