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Chancellor in Davos to champion British excellence in tech

Jeremy Hunt champions British science and tech in first visit to the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland from a UK Chancellor since 2019

  • Microsoft, OpenAI and Pfizer among key investors in the UK to join Chancellor panels on Britain’s growth industries
  • Chancellor Hunt will also bang the drum on investment into the UK through a series of bilateral meetings with global CEOs

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will today, Thursday 18 January, represent the UK at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. He will bear the message that the UK is a world leader in science and technology and ripe for investment from the international business community.

The Chancellor will meet with chief executives from the world’s top-tier companies and speak about his optimism for the UK’s economic growth and productivity despite global uncertainties, in the first visit to Davos by a UK Chancellor since 2019. Chancellor Hunt will also champion the UK’s ambition to be a science and technology superpower, as well as how Britain will harness the economic potential of technology.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, said:

I’ll be in Davos to tell the world that Britain, a nation of great innovation, is on the up and open for business.

We boast some of the best and brightest businesses in sectors of the future like digital technology and life sciences. It’s these areas of strength that are going to drive growth across the UK economy in years to come.

The Chancellor will host a panel discussion on global headwinds in technology, and how these will impact Britain. He will speak about the challenges and opportunities the UK faces in the tech sector, as well as the strength of its offer for investors. His panellists will be:

  • Satya Nadella, Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft
  • Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna
  • Irene Tracey, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford

The Chancellor will also participate in a panel entitled ‘Technology in a Turbulent World’, discussing the importance of technology for economic growth and outlining Britain’s approach to regulation and use, following its hosting of the world’s first AI Safety Summit at Bletchley Park in November 2023. He will appear alongside:

  • Sam Altman, Chief Executive Officer of OpenAI
  • Julie Sweet, Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Accenture
  • Albert Bourla, Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Pfizer
  • Marc Benioff, Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Salesforce

The Chancellor will also hold a series of bilateral meetings with CEOs of world-leading companies to encourage inward investment into the UK.

Digital technology such as AI and life sciences, including the improved running of cutting-edge clinical trials, are priority growth sectors for the UK and are expected to be the focus of the Chancellor’s pitch at Davos.

Britain is already a tech leader in Europe, with the UK’s tech industry worth three times as much as Germany’s and twice as much as France’s in 2023, based on venture capital investment. It has been valued at over $1 trillion, representing 3 million jobs and 85,000 tech start-ups including DeepMind and Stability AI.

The government has also announced a series of multimillion pound investments for the life sciences industry, including £520 million over five years for medicines manufacturing and a £650 million ‘life sci for growth’ package unveiled in May. In the Autumn Statement last November, it was announced that full expensing, whereby companies claim tax relief for qualifying plant and machinery investments, would be made permanent – an effective corporate tax cut worth more than £50 billion to business to help them invest for less. Existing R&D Expenditure Credit schemes were also simplified and improved to further drive research and innovation in the UK.


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