Tech sector needs a ‘shot in the arm’ to make UK’s Silicon Valley dreams come true, industry says – City A.M.

By: Jess Jones
Britain’s ambition to create its own Silicon Valley is achievable but only if the government implements a long-term strategy to boost domestic and foreign confidence in the country’s tech sector, industry experts have warned.
Last month, business secretary Grant Shapps set out plans to create a “Silicon Valley with a British edge”.
Trade association techUK said the ambition was exciting but it had serious questions about how the government plans to achieve it.
Neil Ross, associate director for policy at techUK, said there was currently a “crisis of confidence” in the sector. 
To fix this, he believes the government should focus on three things: improving skills and infrastructure; ensuring the tech sector is competitive internationally; and putting a comprehensive long-term strategy in place.
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Ross called on the chancellor to use the Spring Budget to give the tech sector “a shot in the arm” after a bad end to 2022. 
Ross added that it was “unhelpful” that the chancellor cut R&D tax incentives for small tech companies last year. 
Richard Rawcliffe, the vice president of UK public sector at Dell, said that “investment from central government and private companies is vital to continue important research and development initiatives and drive digital transformation across all sizes of organisation”.
Rawcliffe added that whilst the formation of the new Department for Science, Innovation and Technology is a “step in the right direction”, the UK needs to address the skills gap issue “plaguing the workforce”.
“Harnessing the power of this data will help the UK become a world leader in the innovation space,” Rawcliffe said. 
Naomi Weir, director of innovation at the CBI, said: “We need to decide what we’re going to invest in and excel at — and how this slots into the wider global ecosystem — versus what we’re going to let others take the lead on.” 
Weir believes that there is no “quick fix” and the UK must buckle in for the long haul if it wants to see a Silicon Valley on British soil.
A treasury spokesperson said: “Growing the economy is one of the Prime Minister’s top priorities, which is why we have maintained record levels of capital investment and R&D spending, as well as setting out our vision to develop exciting sectors like technology.”
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