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Tech must be at the centre of PM’s vision for a high wage economy

techUK CEO says the Budget and Spending Review must prioritise tech-led growth to realise the Government’s vision for a high wage economy post-Brexit.

To achieve the Prime Minister’s vision of a high wage, high growth, high productivity and innovative post-Brexit economy the Chancellor will need to put tech-led growth at the heart of the Budget and Spending review, says leading technology trade association techUK.

Tech jobs account for 10% of total jobs in the UK, with the Government’s own projections estimating that the UK could add another 678,000 tech jobs by 2025. The digitisation of professions such as HR, marketing, and legal, which account for 37% of employees in the digital economy, has significantly increased their productivity, as seen by an average yearly income of £62,500, which is significantly higher than the UK average.

Ahead of the Autumn Budget next week, techUK stresses that a failure to adequately support tech-led growth for UK businesses could see the potential for growth of this type of high wage, high skilled jobs put at risk.

To ensure the UK can support businesses to adopt tech models of growth, techUK’s submission to the Treasury for the Budget and Spending Review prioritises regulation, skills, infrastructure and support for innovation as enablers of tech-led growth.

techUK is calling for:

  • Regulation: The expansion of sandboxing schemes and the creation of new regulatory taskforces to unlock investment in key technologies such as autonomous systems.
  • Skills: Expanding the Help to Grow: Digital scheme as well as the creation of a SME Digital Skills Tax Credit to support businesses to adopt the digital services they need as well as to retrain staff.
  • Infrastructure: Deliver on the Government’s commitments to roll-out 5G and gigabit capable broadband by investing a further £250 million in the Telecoms Diversification Programme and bring forward the remaining promised £3.8 billion of funding allocated for Project Gigabit.
  • Innovation: Help businesses to invest in data for research and innovation by extending the scope of the R&D tax credit to cover key assets for R&D such as the purchasing of data sets and the use of data analytics and cloud computing. The Government should also act on long standing and cross industry calls to bring capital expenditure costs, such as those on plant and machinery for facilities engaging in R&D, within scope.

Julian David, CEO techUK said:

“The Prime Minister has outlined a vision of a new post-Brexit economic model for the UK, driven by high wages and high productivity. However, we will not be able to achieve that unless businesses, especially SMEs, can leverage the UK’s tech sector to adopt productivity boosting technologies and give staff the skills to use them”

“If we get this right the prize is enormous: employees empowered by digital technologies contribute twice as much to UK growth. With salaries higher than the average and the ability to work anywhere across the UK’s nations and regions thanks to video conferencing and cloud technologies, digitising our businesses has huge potential to support the economic recovery from COVID-19 and levelling-up.”

techUK’s comprehensive Budget and Spending Review submission is available here. Read a summary of our submission by clicking here.


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