Philip Hammond's Autumn Statement: what it means for technology in the UK
"Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has outlined some of the Conservative government's fiscal policy in his Autumn Statement, placing a keen emphasis on science, technology, startups and 'productivity'.
Although it's unclear precisely what Hammond meant by productivity, he announced a £23 billion 'national productivity investment fund' that will aim to foment a high-skill, high-wage and high-living standard economy. There's every chance this will run parallel with the stated mission to boost the technology sector – a point in the Statement he was keen to emphasise.
Hammond said that Britain does not invest enough in innovation – and that the country will need to plug that gap with an extra £2 billion to be made available for research and development by 2021. This is likely to be cautiously welcomed, but it is also in contrast to the fact that EU grants will no longer be so readily available for academics working in post-Brexit Britain.
Hammond also laid out plans to commit £450 million for digital signalling on railways, and £390 million to ‘build a competitive advantage’ in low-emission vehicles and connected autonomous vehicles. Again, this is likely to be welcome news to a degree – but there are problems with self-driving cars even the biggest hitters like Google are struggling to implement, so it is difficult to picture how much of an impact this money will have.”
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