The road to realistic recovery and growth is digital, not just physical
- Published on Thursday, 06 December 2012 16:20
- Posted by Vicki Mitchem
Commenting on the Chancellor's Autumn Statement, Julian David, Director General of Intellect, the UK's trade association for the technology sector urges government to aim for UK technology leadership by promoting and supporting the technology industry that is an essential ingredient of a realistic road to recovery.
Some Welcome News
The technology industry has been calling out for greater urgency from government and there were signs yesterday that the Chancellor is listening. The £600m investment in science infrastructure and facilities, the changes to capital allowances and the commitment to further reduce corporation tax are all welcome incentives to unlock greater growth for and from the technology sector. Additionally, there are positive signs following the Energy Bill that point to a better energy future, but urgent action is needed to unlock investment in smart grid initiatives that will form the bedrock of this future.
The Right Road?
Julian David argues: "We also welcome the pledge to invest an extra £5bn in infrastructure, however, this must not be seen as an answer in and of itself. Boosting infrastructure spending must remain a priority and further steps must be taken in next year's budget. Moreover, whilst the focus on improving our physical infrastructure from the Chancellor is essential, we must place equal and arguably more focus on improving our digital infrastructure, which is the bedrock of a modern knowledge economy and to some extent a source of revenues for reinvestment into physical infrastructure developments, which is clearly demonstrated in plans for 4G licence revenues.
"If we are to become a technology leader, one of the more important roads the government must travel concerns the implementation of a Climate Change Agreement (CCA) for data centres. Quite simply if this doesn't happen investment in data centres will go elsewhere and tech leadership that comes with the great digital infrastructure that underpins a modern and successful digital economy will lie outside the UK.
A Longer-Term Partnership With Technology Industry
The £50 million investment in TechCity and the excitement around this initiative actively demonstrates the potential of technology as a driver for the UK economy. We need government to go beyond the Tech City and start to address the wider concern that is Tech UK.
"The UK has a fantastic opportunity to be a global technology leader. As we made clear in our letter to the Chancellor, we need to take a more strategic long term view about how best the UK can seize comparative advantage through technology. In support of the CBI's recommendations following the Heseltine Review, taking advantage of sectors where we are world class, like technology, it is our view that the UK must have a technology council, which would bring together the various components of our sector and government in a unique forum for collaboration. Such a council would set the UK apart and provide the sort of leadership that would ensure the UK wins the global technology race.
"The road to recovery is more than likely to be a digital road. We are making progress but there is a long way to go and important conversations and collaboration between government and the technology industry need to happen soon in order for the right roads to be taken towards recovery and growth."