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UK must ’embrace new technologies’ to grow economy, says Chancellor


The UK must “embrace new technologies” if it is to succeed in the future, the Chancellor said at the start of London Tech Week.

Rishi Sunak said supporting innovation was key to the UK’s economic success and the country needed to support “capital, people and ideas”.

The Chancellor was speaking on the first day of London Tech Week, the annual conference celebrating Britain’s tech sector.

Outlining his vision for the industry in the UK, Mr Sunak said: “What really matters for economic success is innovation.

“If we want our country to succeed, we have to do what we have always done and embrace new technologies and the people and culture that create them. No serious analysis of our prospects could conclude otherwise.

“Because if we are successful, if we support our capital, our people and our ideas, if we can encourage this incredible spirit that I see all over this country, then we can be sure that Britain is on the cusp of a new era of innovation. and change.

He said the government was reforming the UK’s entry rules to make it easier for companies to raise funds and highlighted recently announced visa changes to allow more ‘high potential’ people from the top 50 universities worlds in the UK to stimulate their ideas and skills.

The Chancellor was speaking following new figures which showed UK tech firms had raised more venture capital funds in the first five months of 2022 than in the whole of 2020.

The £12.4bn in funding raised so far this year puts the UK second only to the US in seed investment, and ahead of countries like China, France and the United States. ‘India.

The Chancellor has announced a new review of the future of computing (Jonathan Brady/PA)

However, it was confirmed on Monday that the UK economy contracted for the second consecutive month in April, the first consecutive fall since Covid hit in 2020.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of the size of the economy, fell 0.3% in April, with all three major sectors suffering lower output for the first time since January 2021.

As part of his innovation adoption plan, the Chancellor has announced a new Future of Computing study, which will examine the UK’s computing needs and how to develop cost-effective solutions to ensure that researchers and industry have access to the high-performance computers needed to power future technologies.

The Chancellor was joined at London Tech Week by Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, who announced the government’s recently updated digital strategy, a plan to make the UK a tech superpower and boost the economy accordingly, of which consideration of the future of computing will be a part.

Ms Dorries said the strategy would also involve the creation of a new Digital Skills Council to help “bridge the skills gap” in the tech sector, and would also seek to “capitalize on the freedoms we now have to set our own standards and regulations” now that the UK has left the EU.