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techUK responds to speech from Prime Minister Theresa May

“UK tech needs a smooth and orderly Brexit in order to power the new era of Global Britain”

Commenting on yesterday’s speech from Prime Minister Theresa May, Antony Walker, Deputy CEO of techUK, stated:

“A smooth and orderly Brexit will be essential to achieve the vision for a global Britain.”

“The European Union is a hugely important market for UK tech, and is the destination for over 40% of UK digital exports. Similarly European businesses are highly integrated with the UK’s technology sector. There are big incentives on all parties to get Brexit right. The PM made this clear today.

“The UK tech sector is highly integrated with suppliers and customers across Europe and depends everyday on laws and regulations set at European level. Leaving the Single Market will have a bigger impact on tech than the rest of the UK economy. That is why it is essential that the government does everything that it can to secure a soft landing for Brexit. The Prime Minister’s objective to reach an agreement on a future partnership arrangement within two years followed by a period for phased implementation appears a sensible approach although businesses will be looking for further detail.

“The crux for tech will be about building a bridge between membership of the single market and a future free trade agreement. That bridge needs to be solid and dependable if businesses are going to have confidence in it.

“Tech businesses will be realistic about the difficulty of achieving this within these timescales. Government will need to understand the needs of the sector in detail and persuade its counterparts across Europe of the benefit of striking a positive deal. The risk of falling off a regulatory cliff edge in two years’ time has not gone away. However if a smooth and orderly exit can be achieved from the EU then the UK’s thriving tech sector can go on to be the powerhouse of Global Britain”.

On the Prime Minister’s 12 Point Plan, Walker added:

“Many will be heartened by the Prime Minister’s clear commitment to UK leadership in science and technology as a key aim of exit negotiations, with acknowledgement that the UK will still be involved in collaborative European projects such as science and space. Similarly, the Prime Minister has outlined that the UK must continue to be a magnet for international talent and home to pioneers and innovators. This sends a positive signal but tech companies need certainty sooner rather than later on how a reformed migration system will work in practice.

Walker concluded:

“The cornerstone of the Prime Minister’s speech was the UK’s ability to shape a brighter future for a new Global Britain. The UK’s future depends on securing the benefits of the digital age – from investment in digital infrastructure to equipping our young people with the skills they need to thrive in digital economy. The UK’s economic future depends on a Brexit plan and industrial strategy that go hand in hand, with the needs of UK tech at their heart.”


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