Fall 2021 budget: what does it mean for the tech industry?

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Autumn budget promises to spend billions to refresh computing and technology in the NHS, but also a big increase in spending on vocational training

Chancellor Rishi Sunak tabled his fall budget today to help low-income people in a post-Covid era as Britain recovers from the harsh economic shock caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Stressing that this was an “optimistic budget”, the Chancellor stressed that the British economy is expected to return to pre-Covid levels by 2022, with annual growth expected to rebound by 6.5% this year, then 6% in 2022.

But what exactly does the budget do for the tech industry and the companies that operate in it? We will take a look.

Fall 2021 Budget – NHS

First of all, it’s worth noting that there haven’t been any major spending commitments in the tech space, but there have been two notable developments in the tech as a whole.

The first notable development is the news that the NHS will receive an additional £ 2.1bn for computing and digital technology.

“The news that the NHS is receiving an additional £ 2.1 billion budget to improve computing and digital technology is welcome,” said Grant Caley, UK and Ireland chief technologist at NetApp.

“Since the start of the pandemic, data and digital resources have been absorbed rapidly,” Caley said. “The power of data is transforming the NHS before our eyes, and digital transformation is always on an uptrend.”

“When used correctly, the NHS has enormous potential to enable research, increase efficiency and enable better decision-making,” Caley said. “The use of artificial intelligence will also be vital to support these efforts. At a time when the NHS is under significant pressure, technology can help healthcare professionals continue to provide the good care that weighs them down and potentially reduce burnout. “

“Investing in the cloud, for example, can help the NHS provide better services to patients and add more value to taxpayers,” Caley said. “Data has been an important resource in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic and now is the time to invest in the digital infrastructure the NHS needs to better rebuild. “

Financing of qualification

The second notable development in the fall budget was the government’s investment of $ 3.8 billion.

“This fall budget is all about technology,” said Russ Shaw CBE, founder of Tech London Advocates and Global Tech Advocates. “With a commitment to retrain the nation through a 42% increase in skills spending and a formal criterion for the long-awaited scale-up visa, the Chancellor has announced a series of proposals that will expand the scope of our startup sector to support become our unicorns. “

“After thirty years in the industry, he is very happy to see technology finally take its place at the forefront of government policy,” said Shaw. “This government is to be congratulated for its strong commitment to digital innovation as a means of economic recovery and job creation – although in addition to computer programs such as ‘Multiply’, additional investments in skills will be made. needed in the future to address the lack of technical skills. Ability to remedy it completely. “We are currently facing.

“Doubling Innovate UK’s annual budget to £ 1 billion, launching the Global Talent Network and encouraging national R&D spending are notable steps for the tech industry – although it is a real shame that the Chancellor delay the R&D proposal. in the deep end. “For two years,” Shaw said.

“London has been a global tech hub for some time – but the Chancellor’s pledge to make Britain a ‘science and technology superpower’ is an extremely promising step in solidifying the country’s position as a true digital leader international, ”Shaw concluded.

Software development

Another expert also rejected the “skills revolution” and asked to focus on future skills in software design and development.

“This year’s fall budget announcement puts a lot of emphasis on the government’s education skills and commitment, and rightly so,” said Paramjit Uppal, CEO and Founder of AND Digital.

“However, I would like to see more investment in developing software design / development skills,” Uppal said. “The UK needs more skilled people who can develop software and data solutions for any business. -5 years.

“Investing in people and their potential will be the catalyst for innovation and will strengthen a society already so dependent on digital progress,” Uppal said.

“As the programs grow, we should expect more support and investment focused on developing the technical skills people need to create products and experiences that can have real impact.” , Uppal said. “It is right to make this training accessible to adults of all ages; Learning is a lifelong process. Helping people develop the technical know-how and basic digital skills they need to get ahead is exactly what it takes. “

Vacant jobs

Another budget target was wages and taxes, amid the so-called ‘big resignation’ as people shifted their life priorities after the global coronavirus pandemic, which (as of October 27, 2021) has killed at least 4.96 million people around the world, rethink.

“Not surprisingly, issues of work culture and pay were at the center of this fall budget after months of debates over employee rights and retention issues,” said Jonathan Richards, CEO of Breathe.

“The ‘Great Resignation’ or, finally, the term ‘The Great Reshuffle’ comes to mind; Employers are fighting the backlash of a widespread revolt against low wages and overtime in all industries, ”Richards said. “A pay rise is a step in the right direction, especially for the hospitality industry and retail, but not a panacea.”

“After the recent tax adjustments announced earlier this year, it is a positive result that there are no further increases yet,” said Richards. “The 1.2% increase in national insurance will hit midsize businesses where it hurts, their bottom line, as they scramble to cover employer contributions.”

“Amid demands for wage increases fueled by the lockdown overtime spiral, further tax hikes will bleed the busy center and seriously hamper its growth,” Richards warned. “

For many, this is a difficult situation. With this in mind, employers should focus on promoting existing employees and showing them respect for their work. Whatever the outcome of the budget, focusing on retention and promoting a culture where people want to stay and support each other will be key to sustainable growth. “

Border control

Another expert pointed out that Rishi Sunak focuses on the importance of controlling UK borders while attracting highly skilled foreign talent.

“While the Chancellor’s new funding measures announced today in the budget to strengthen border controls are important in keeping Britain safe, we as a country must remember that we owe a lot to migrants – for example the key workers with whom we have worked. with our entire pandemic at the door, ”noted Daumantas Dvilinskas, CEO and co-founder of TransferGo.

“In London today, almost half of doctors and two-thirds of nurses are migrants, while in the UK 15% of those working in supermarkets or other food jobs and basic necessities are not British nationals, ”said Dvilinskas. “Basically Britain needs a constant flow of talented and dedicated workers from all over the world.”

“As such, the government needs to think carefully about how to accept these workers from outside the UK,” Dvilinskas said. “As I myself am a migrant, the budget lacked the direction in which the country could present itself as a natural hotbed for diverse thoughts, backgrounds and experiences. Learning to cross this fine line between improving security and attracting talent will allow the UK to continue to be an industry leader, whether in tech, fintech, manufacturing or health care. “

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