Autumn Statement 2014: Good news for STEM and innovation, but Chancellor misses Internet of Things opportunity

Today the Chancellor made it clear that technology has a fundamental role to play in the UK’s long-term economic future. 

The focus on skills, exports, science and infrastructure will all help the UK to compete successfully in the global digital economy. 

The UK tech sector has been an engine for growth over the last five years and today’s announcements will strengthen its long-term prospects, particularly in the North.

Long-term investment in science, innovation and infrastructure will provide a platform for growth. Initiatives such as the Sir Henry Royce Institute and the Cognitive Computing Research Centre in Hartree will help build our long-term capabilities in key emerging technologies.

Innovation is key to growth and the government is right to encourage SMEs who invest in R&D through supercharged tax credits. 

We also welcome the government’s initiatives to reverse the decline in UK students undertaking STEM masters courses and the new £45m programme to encourage new companies exporting for the first time – both of which we called for in our techUK manifesto.

The missed opportunity of today was the failure to provide greater backing of the UK as a world leader in the Internet of Things (IOT). This will be the next internet revolution. 

Countries like China and India are now outpacing the UK in the race to seize this £4.6trn opportunity. We call on the government to look at this issue again.

On the proposed ‘Diverted Profits Tax’, it is clear that over many years global corporate tax rules have become outdated, complex and opaque. 

The way to remedy this is not through unilateral action but through international cooperation to make rules simpler and more transparent. 

Today’s announcement is part of an ongoing international process through the OECD, which techUK supports.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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