Just a week before the annual Budget is to be announced, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Chancellor Philip Hammond have announced plans of doubling the number of "exceptional talent" visas for high-skilled workers entering the United Kingdom to 2,000 in a major boost to British start-ups fearing a post-Brexit skills shortage. It is hoped the stimulus will reduce the threat of startups leaving the United Kingdom and ensure that talent is not dissuaded from departing. 'It is absolutely right that this dynamic sector, which makes such an enormous contribution to our economic life and to our society, has the full backing of Government. Helping our world-class entrepreneurs and innovators to succeed is how we lay the foundations for our prosperity and build an economy fit for the future.
Prime Minister Theresa May and Chancellor Philip Hammond are to meet digital entrepreneurs and innovators as the government announces a series of measures to support the continued growth of the tech sector.
'Technology is at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy, and we will continue to invest in the best new innovations and ideas, in the brightest and best talent, and in revolutionary digital infrastructure. "That means Government doing all it can to secure a strong future for our thriving tech sector and ensure people in all corners of our nation share in the benefits of its success".
The measures also include an investment of £21 million to expand Tech City UK into a nationwide network, dubbed Tech Nation; the establishment of a "GovTech" fund to encourage UK firms to use tech to solve challenges facing the public sector; and a £20 million programme to train young people aged between 14 and 18 against online cyber threats. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is also launching a £2 million pilot voucher scheme in Aberdeenshire; Bristol/Bath and North East Somerset; Coventry and Warwickshire; and West Yorkshire - to pay for full-fibre gigabit broadband connections in those areas.
Tech City UK chairwoman Eileen Burbidge said: "We are delighted to hear that the Government wants to increase Tech City UK's funding for the next four years". It said it would set up a number of regional hubs across the country.
A new "GovTech" challenge fund will encourage United Kingdom firms to use technology to solve challenges facing the public sector, while a dedicated new team acting as a front door into Whitehall to connect tech companies to the right parts of government.