Chancellor Philip Hammond delivered his Budget today, highlighting that Britain was, for the first time in decades, at the forefront of a technological revolution.
“But we must invest to secure that bright future for Britain,” he noted, acknowledging the government should continue to invest in the skills and infrastructure that will support the jobs of the future.
“We will not build it over night but in this Budget, today, we will build the foundations … A new tech business is founded in Britain every hour, I want that to be every half hour,” added the chancellor.
As part of his speech, Hammond confirmed the government will be investing more than £500m “in a range of activities from artificial intelligence, to 5G and full fibre broadband”.
Other announcements so far include a further £2.3bn for investment in R&D, an increase of R&D Tax credit to 12%, extra cash to increase the numbers of students taking maths after the age of 16, support for electric cars – including a £400m charging infrastructure fund – and £300m to connect HS2 with rail improvements in the North England.
As he’s done previously, Hammond commented on the state of UK productivity, noting how the economy’s productivity levels remained “stubbornly flat”.
Brexit talks advance as UK and EU agree terms for transition period
With this in mind, Hammond announced that he would be extending the National Productivity Investment Fund for a further year and expand it to more than £31bn.
Unsurprisingly, the chancellor addressed Brexit, announcing that £3bn would be set aside for contingency plans as the UK prepares for its impending divorce from the European Union (EU).
Hammond noted he was also prepared to allocate more funds, if needed, and that the government should work to prepare for “every possible outcome”.