Technology firms are to invest more than £2bn in the UK, creating 1,600 new jobs, Theresa May has announced. Mrs May hosted a tech roundtable event where three firms announced private investment into the UK economy.
The prime minister also announced several government-funded initiatives to help British start-ups and attract foreign talent. One initiative is a visa scheme to attract more foreign entrepreneurs.
The UK government is launching a £2.5bn programme to help UK companies grow and expand overseas, and it hopes to attract a further £5m in private investment for the scheme.
It is also starting two “tech hubs” in Brazil and South Africa, to build innovative partnerships and develop skills, capability and business networks in these markets.
The private sector tech investment that was announced included £1.9bn over the next five years by US cloud computing firm Salesforce. It will open its second British data centre in 2019.
The UAE’s state-owned sovereign wealth fund Mubadala is launching a £300m European investment fund, that will be based in the UK.
And Japanese IT services firm NTT Data will be investing £41m to open a new office and an innovation centre that will create up to 200 jobs over the next three years.
UK tech industry body Tech UK said it is clear that the British government wants to stay ahead of other European countries like France in attracting tech entrepreneurs and investors.
“The new start-up visas are a sensible move to encourage those with good ideas to come to the UK, however, start-ups are only one part of UK tech,” said TechUK’s deputy chief executive Antony Walker.
“For many established mid-tier and larger tech companies, there remain serious concerns around Tier 2 visas.
“We understand that approximately 1,000 tech workers with job offers were refused visas between December 2017 and March 2018. This is a handbrake on economic growth and needs to be urgently addressed.”