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Tech industry demands clarity on Brexit ahead of key budget

TechUK warns government that this week's budget could be its last chance to give tech firms confidence in the post-Brexit UK economy

Tech industry body TechUK has called on the government to use the budget to provide some certainty for businesses as the countdown to Brexit continues.

The global nature of the IT sector means companies can move to other locations if the economic, political and cultural environment no longer suits them.

Businesses need to prepare for impending Brexit, but have so far been given little sign of what is to come. The Autumn Budget this week could be the chancellor of the exchequer’s last chance to help businesses to prepare for the UK’s exit from the EU.

TechUK has submitted five key demands to the government ahead of the budget:

  • Increase support for UK SMEs that are digitising;
  • Protect small and micro businesses from cyber threats;
  • Create a roadmap for research and development spending;
  • Ensure the UK is supporting digital skills;
  • Provide support with energy costs to UK datacentres.

“This budget must give certainty, where little currently exists, by setting out a clear path to provide business with the tools they need for the future,” said TechUK CEO Julian David.

“All businesses are facing increased uncertainty and an urgent need to get their houses in order ahead of whatever is thrown at them post-Brexit. The chancellor has said he wants to put the UK at ‘the forefront of the global technology revolution’. Now is the time to make good on that desire,” he added.

David said the UK could lose tech companies if it does not have the right environment for them after the UK leaves the EU.

Read more about TechUK on Brexit

“Tech businesses are global by nature, and many won’t simply wait around forever. Progress is needed on Brexit, and this budget is a golden opportunity for the government to show that it is truly able to prepare the UK for our future outside the EU.”

In January, TechUK said ensuring the best possible access to the EU market, EU talent and the need for laws around cross-border data transfers were priorities for the tech sector when it came to making a deal with the EU.

It said the UK’s digitally intensive firms – both suppliers and users – accounted for 16% of gross value added (GVA), 24% of all exports and three million jobs, and that leaving the EU would disrupt all of this. 

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