Pundits from the UK’s tech scene have shared their views on yesterday’s spring Budget announcement.
During his speech, George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, revealed a series of changes that would inevitably affect small business or startups in the UK; including greater devolution of power for local communities and help for micro-entrepreneurs in the form of tax allowances.
Here’s what some tech companies in the UK had to say about Osborne’s plans.
Devolution for the north
Matt Roberts, CEO of Nonexecutivedirectors – an online-only network that connects non-executive director candidates with top businesses – said he was pleased to see that the Chancellor had addressed the Northern Powerhouse in his announcement.
“As part of the devolution we will hopefully see new powers given to regions in the North to enable us to have more power on key decisions … the promised upgrades to the M62, A66 are also welcomed, which will increase the flexibility of movement across the North,” he told Tech City News.
Tax cuts for startups
Erki Kert, CEO of Big Data Scoring spoke about the government’s pledge to cut tax for SMEs and how this would affect the technology sector.
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Kert said: “The government has further acknowledged the valuable contribution tech startups make to the UK economy with its pledge to reduce corporation tax for SMEs.
“The UK has cultivated a hub of technology innovation in London that attracts talent from all over Europe. This fast-growth sector creates jobs and is making positive contributions to the economy. As CEO of a European tech company that’s moved to London, I welcome this move, along with Osborne’s support for staying in the EU.”
The sharing economy
During his speech, Osborne also announced a sharing economy allowance, enabling consumers to earn up to £2,000 tax free from selling goods online or renting out their homes.
The UK Chancellor, George Osborne, has just announced a sharing economy allowance for consumers in his budget. This allowance enables consumers to earn up to £2,000 tax free from selling goods online or renting out their homes.
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Debbie Wosskow, founding chair of Sharing Economy UK and founder of Love Home Swap, said: “This is a colossal win for Britain. We are the first in the world to introduce a sharing economy allowance that allows individuals to earn up to £2,000 tax free. This demonstrates the UK truly is the home of the sharing economy and leading the global stage in this space.”
Joe Giordano, co-founder of ChargeApp, also shared his views with Tech City News: “Today’s Budget announcement has been one of the most significant the UK’s tech sector has ever seen. Our wish for better broadband to enable the benefits of the tech industry to be felt by all has been granted with the establishment of a Broadband Investment Fund, which will support the growth of alternative broadband networks.”
“Osborne has also promised to deliver a 5G strategy in 2017, in a serious push to make the UK a world leader in 5G. This will significantly improve mobile networks – a crucial move for the app sector which has suffered from data roaming and mobile connectivity issues,” he noted.
Marc Defosse, managing director at Ribbonfish, a London-based tech firm specialising in Salesforce and enterprise apps for publishing and media spoke about the overall impact of the budget on tech-related businesses.
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“A number of announcements interest us as a tech SME, some more directly than others. Cuts in business rates and corporation tax will be welcomed in the industry, of course. In addition, the longer school opening hours could benefit working parents, and encourage more of them into the tech sector and other industries.
“UK tech sometimes gets labelled as London-centric, and we hope that the new high-speed rail lines will enable us to service clients better throughout the country. We’re happy that HS3 will improve links between two great cities in the north. Also, Crossrail 2, in addition to the Elizabeth Line, will open up a pool of talent by providing an easier and quicker commute within the capital,” said Defosse.
Ed Relf, CEO, Laundrapp said that as the clouds gathered over the UK economy, the country should be looking to entrepreneurs for a sunnier outlook.
“Promised tax cuts and abolished business rates will go a long way to help entrepreneurs grow the on-demand ecosystem, offer more jobs, drive innovation and help Britain ‘put stability first’ and remain one of the world’s fastest growing economies,” he said.
Similarly to his contemporaries, Refl also spoke about the need to foster innovation outside of London, while calling out for the need to drive young people towards entrepreneurialism:
“Projects to support innovation across Britain, not just in London, are essential. If the Northern Powerhouse is to become a reality, startups must receive assistance to establish local innovation zones.
“Young people must also be encouraged to consider careers in startups. If this Budget is to truly put the next generation first, encouraging entrepreneurialism and creativity is key,” he concluded.
Finally, John Goodall, CEO of Landbay, an online peer-to-peer mortgage lender, also commented on the Budget: “We applaud any initiative that supports investment opportunities for current and next generation savers, especially those struggling to secure their financial future in the current low interest rate landscape.
“Government initiatives should be geared to help people look after their hard earned money for fair returns via simple and transparent process and information. The only way investors can unlock their long-term prosperity is to make smarter decisions with their money,” added the CEO.
Julian David, CEO of techUK, said:
“The Chancellor’s commitment to adopt all recommendations made by Professor Sir Charles Bean is positive recognition of the importance of the digital industry to the UK economy. Investment of £10m in a new hub for data science will help the public and private sector make better use of data, which has the potential to reduce cost and improve public services.
“5G represents the next stage of mobile development and will play a key role in future connectivity for people and businesses. The UK has the opportunity to be a world leader in the development of 5G, and the tech community will be keen to contribute to the National Infrastructure Commission’s assessment of how this can be achieved.
“techUK members will be pleased to see the government’s ambition for the UK to be at the forefront of the development of autonomous vehicles, alongside support for the sharing economy.”