‘It couldn’t get much worse’ – UK tech reacts to Liz Truss’s fateful stint as PM
Yesterday Liz Truss resigned as the UK’s prime minister after only 45 in office, sparking yet more uncertainty for businesses.
From day one, Truss had a tech in-tray that contained a long list of issues such as the Online Safety Bill, crypto regulation and a UK semiconductor strategy.
These issues have not gone away and will now be delayed further while the Conservative Party chooses its third leader in as many months.
“Let’s hope that the prime minister’s resignation brings stability to the UK economy and the financial markets – it is vital that the new PM moves swiftly to articulate a vision for the UK, which incorporates a focus on supporting businesses and a thriving UK tech sector,” said Russ Shaw CBE, founder, Tech London Advocates and Global Tech Advocates.
“There is an urgent need for the next leader and their government to address immediate challenges to underpin the growth of the UK tech sector – these include a plan to build a digitally-equipped diverse workforce, the introduction of a UK semiconductor strategy, clarity around the Online Safety Bill and an environment which supports investment in UK tech.”
Adnan Chowdhury, UK policy lead at fintech company Wise, told Verdict: “This political disruption has put the progress of key legislation on hold. While there are many things in financial services that could have moved on, which would have significantly helped consumers during a time of economic crisis, none was more urgent than the Online Safety Bill.”
Tech investors are also craving stability, something that was lacking during Truss’s tenure due to her disastrous mini-budget.
“We share our industry’s apathy towards Westminster’s ability to create positive change,” said a spokesperson for Manchester-based VC Praetura Ventures. “The class of ’22 entrepreneurs will have experienced some of the most testing economic conditions we’ve ever seen.
“What’s inspiring, is seeing so many of them just ‘get on with it’ and follow their passion. This government needs a shake-up, because arguably it couldn’t get much worse.”
‘Ramifications’ for crypto
The lack of a clear direction from the government has ramifications for specific tech industries. Alan Vey, chairman and founder of enterprise blockchain company Aventus, expressed his concerns for the firm’s sector.
“The PM’s resignation will undoubtedly have ramifications for the tech industry, particularly within the crypto space. The lack of action, vision and support given to the digital assets industry by Liz Truss and her cabinet during her short time in office was certainly a cause for concern.”
It was only in April that former Chancellor Rishi Sunak – now a frontrunner to become prime minister – unveiled plans to make the UK s “global cryptoasset hub”.
Vey added that the most pressing issue remains the regulatory procedures to protect consumers surrounding crypto, but remains hopeful the successor will work on this.
‘Adequate funding’ needed in healthcare
Dr Melinda Rees, chief commercial officer of Psyomics, said Downing Street isn’t doing enough to tackle the growing mental health backlog.
“Whoever succeeds Liz Truss must ensure that adequate funding is directed into this crucial area to stave off an even bigger mental health crisis.”
The current political situation is not just affecting Psyomics but financial and investor markets as a whole explained Rees making them “uncertain and anxious”.
“This doesn’t feel like a market where bold decisions can be made, but where mental health is concerned, bold decisions need to be made.”
Dr Kit Latham, co-founder and CEO at Credentially, echoed the thoughts of Rees that little was achieved in the Liz Truss tenure before her resignation.
“As co-founder of a tech company that supports healthcare organisations and staffing providers, everyday I see how the unresolved flaws in NHS systems are making it harder than ever for hospitals, ambulance services and GPs to hire and retain staff.”