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back to article Tech can make Britain Great again

The UK's technology industry can pull the country out of its debt hole and make up for the decline in manufacturing. So reckons Micro Focus, which is launching a manifesto called Making BrITain Great Again. The group is promoting five policy moves backed by its panel of three parliamentarians - Tory Lord Young of Graffam, Labour …

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Flame

Wrong title surely?

Shouldn't the title actually be:

"Outsourcing tech can't make Britain great again"

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Welcome

I for one...

welcome new government funding for our technology industry overlords. Shame the education system in this country gives me a headache when it comes to recruiting decent people to the kind of work the report suggests.

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Welcome

Sooo...

"action to encourage international tech firms to invest in the UK."

May I be the first to propose the term 'insourcing" for such a revolutionary idea...

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Go

Exactly, and on a related topic...

Please consider signing my petition to have Intra Company Transfers abolished, which is on the 10 Downing Street web site at:

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Abolish-ICTs/

"This scheme allows companies to bypass UK immigration rules and import non-EU workers into the UK, displacing UK/EU staff. This scheme bypasses other schemes such as the skilled migrants points system, which work fairly based on national need and individual migrants skills. This is allowing the displacement of tens of thousands of workers, particulary in IT. It is unfair on UK (and EU) workers as these shipped in workers enjoy tax (and often accomodation) benefits not available to workers living in the UK due to the local cost of living and tax regime. This is raising UK unemployment by the tens of thousands and undermining the UKs future competetiveness in Information Technology as skills are built up here and then return abroad. This scheme is fundamentally unfair. No one can object to the work being out-sourced to be carried about abroad, but this mass importing of non-EU labour to have the work done here, is unfair."

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Silver badge
Alien

Literally, Virtually from the Office of CyberIntelAIgent Securities.....

"Tech can make Britain Great again ... It's IT wot can win it"

John,

That has been the NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActive Alien Message for QuITe a considerable time, has it not? Sadly are those who are as cuckoos in the nest of power and control in the UK, not smart enough to lead with IT, for they have been oft advised of the following facility. Or is the excuse to be that they do not accept communications from outside of their little private bubbles/empires unless flagged to them by minions/duty desk officers/lower staff? And now three months holiday at the public expense when presumably even less will be attended to than before.

No matter, it is only of use to those with the Intelligence to Use IT and there's No Point in Sharing it with Feather Nesters for ITs IntelAIgent Design will always render them Exposed as a Fraud.

And how very convenient/inconvenient that the following extract should appear today, BetaTesting for Real, Special Intelligence Services' analytical skills and Internet Phishing Systems ...." And such is the Technology and Advanced Intelligence available today, that if Reality doesn't suit, then any Virtual Reality can be Stealthily Supplied to Crash and Destroy any System that you would care to Choose. And do not sell yourself short by doubting that, just because a) you cannot supply it with IT and Media or b) your government or its Special Intelligence Services cannot supply it either or c) it is a Cloudy Private Sector supplied Virtual Service for the SMARTer Enabled Controllers in Switched On Universal Leaderships.

And a QuITe Perfect Gift for Mr Putin and Russia, meThinks. Sadly though, it is not something that can be said with any Confidence of GB and the UK, who appear to have Lost the Global Plot for a Fistful of Counterfeit Dollars." ....... 22 Jul 09, 8:39am .. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jul/21/russia-medvedev

Have a nice ZerodDay, y'all. :-)

Registered Quantum Communications BetaTest #XXXX 0907221137

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Grenade

Simple

IT is a means to and end not the end in itself and the last thing we need is another IT bubble fueled by futile startups. As for technology we couldn't compete with asia etc. OK maybe small scale specialist stuff, but not anything that's going to rebuild our economy in a hurry.

I don't know what the answer is but i'm fairly sure this ain't it...

hmmm maybe engineering - project managment/high level stuff & outsource all the grunt work - we're quite good at that , much like now really... so no solution there either.

War. A nice big war. That'll do it.

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Silver badge

Re... Literally, Virtually from the Office of CyberIntelAIgent Securities.....

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

The only question is, are they to lose or also win?

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Flame

white heat?

"The UK's technology industry can pull the country out of its debt hole and make up for the decline in manufacturing."

i can remember Harold Wilson saying that in the 60s and it was rubbish then and it's rubbish now. Manufacturing success requires long-term investment from the public and private sectors and that's what we haven't had for decades. British capitalism is now based almost entirely on short-term returns and is dominated by pension funds who are intrinsically averse to long-term investment with no immediate return.

The decline in manufacturing has gone so far that it can't be reversed, there've been several generations brought up now on the dole who couldn't work if they tried, and for all this talk of building manufacturing up, the reality is plain for all to see; the Govt will spend billions to shore up failing banks and bale out their City chums but couldn't give a stuff about industry especially if it's outside f*cking London.

the worst damage was done by Thatcher, though; once she got her teeth into us we were doomed. No doubt I'll be crucified by post-Thatcher market-force afficionados who don't remember what this country was like before it was ruined, but I am old enough to remember the days of (almost) full employment, technological innovation and investment, and a fairer and more equitable society than we have now (and before kids were hoodie-wearing gangsta wannabes)

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Minimise

The best thing to do is minimise on proliferation of information systems.

Things need simplified. Codebases need shortened, networks efficiently improved. We need to rationalise in order to run an effective system with IT

Things need to be more 'together' as well as maintaining freedom.

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Unhappy

What is this?

Britain can be great again? WIth technology? Better yet, with IT?

I feel narcolepsy creeping up on me.

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Silver badge

Lots of scope...

Considering Britain's contribution to the state of the art in IT, compared to the amount of profit and other benefits it has extracted in return... we are pretty well at rock bottom. There's nowhere to go but up.

Maybe one day we could look forward to a good, robust, secure, user-friendly British client operating system, for example?

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Anonymous Coward

Can you hear that?......

It's the sound of an axe grinding.

Of course everybody knows that increasing supply will increase demand it's so obvious. A bit of free tax-payer's money never hurts either so who could object?

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Why?

Why would any other country want to buy tech stuff from the UK when they can cut out the middle man and go directly to India, China, etc...

At the very least this will not make Britain great it will just allow a few Britains to cream off the profits while hiring from overseas and pocketing the incentive money given to them by the British tax payer. If they are going to throw around such money then they should also put some policy in place to say that anyone recruited must be getting a proper salary and paying tax in the UK.

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WTF?

Investing in India can make the UK great again

Hold on, almost all new IT jobs are going offshore or onshore to Indian nationals. So all we will do is boost the economy of India. Aint this gummnt great, sigh...

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Alert

Eh?

Shame any technical profession in the UK is regarded in a similar way as dog crap stuck to the underside of one's shoe.

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IT Angle

We sold everything off

Any innovative British inventions we sell off when they become successful (ARM processor for example)

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Silver badge
FAIL

Won't happen

1) No Political will (remember Harol Wilson and the 'White Heat of Technology'?

2) Investment means less Tax revenue. Our esteemed Govt needs all the revenue it can to get us out of this deep hole it has dug for us.

3) Bean counters in charge of companies. Investment without paymav inside 2 weeks is far too risky.

4) Stock Market Pressures for Dividends

etc, etc, etc

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Great Idea but...

...will this include provisions to prohibit outsourcing development work to the Indian subcontinent and/or importing Indian programmers to work in the UK?

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Anonymous Coward

Psion & ARM

The question the government needs to ask is why we continually fail to translate R&D into world-beating products - Tom Tom, most ARM-based phones, the Symbian O/S, all stem from early British successes (Acorn and Psion) who failed to become world-beating product firms.

We are still very good at basic tech R&D (look at the strength of UK chip design firms - pure IP) and also pretty good at visual and product design (we export skills in both - or even people like Jonathan Ive) but our business culture is useless at combining these assets to create and market products.

(And having Alan Sugar as a consultant won't help, given his focus on 'create a cheaper inferior version of someone else's product, because there is always a market for something cheaper' - as he's found to his cost, there's always someone who can make it cheaper too).

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Teach tech not using PCs

Can't agree more with Stef 4. Although Outsourcing isn't as much an issue as Offshoring.

Currently government thinking makes as much sense as saying we are a great engineering nation because we drive cars designed and built in Germany.

Incidentally, can someone with offspring of school age tell me what programming languages, if any are taught in ICT? I was "taught" to program with BBC BASIC for my O level and then RM Pascal for my A level.

Unless programming, even VBA, is actually taught in schools I can't see how we can ever leverage tech as a nation. Showing kids how to use Paint and getting them to produce squiggles doesn't really cut the mustard.

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Anonymous Coward

stating the obvious

Its pretty obvious that with our high cost of living/resources that we can not compete in marketing and low skilled service industries.

The aim shouldn't be as one commentor put it to create another IT bubble but to invest in technological advancement, R&D and sciences. And we should be promoting innovation not stifling it by pandering to the likes of the MPAA and RIAA and increasing our copyright laws to suit them at the cost of developing worthwhile ideas.

We have sat back and got lazy and let other countries catch up and move ahead of us. All those people whining about outsourcing can't really complain if they don't offer anything extra. It's all very well asking for the government to impose artificial barriers but that will only save their jobs in the short term as it leaves the country less competitive on the worldwide stage. In the long term we need to be offering something that other countries don't have.

In the past when Britain was great we built massive bridges, railways, ships, etc. None of this happens anymore because leaving it down to extreme capitalism and privatisation means people only look at the short term profitability and decide that nothing is worth doing. We are in this upcoming power crisis because the government won't look further than it's term. What we need is some long term planning and commitment rather than running around like some hyperactive child following the latest trend.

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Silver badge

1975 called

... they'd like their sense of naive optimism back.

Britain hasn't been a technological leader since the industrial revolution - which has, now, definitely stopped revolving. Face it, we're too expensive. The price of keeping a roof (even a little, tiny roof) over your head in this country is far too high. Particularly when you're in a global market, competing with IT people over the internet. People who live in countries where land is cheap to build on, taxes are low and they don't expect 5 weeks off a year (plus national holidays). With more regulations to ensure our "health and safety" than you can shake a stick at, and the expectation that in a few short years they'll have a car, kids, fitted carpets and 200 channels of repeats on TV.

When everything (salary, NI, pensions, taxes, floorspace, infrastructure, HR etc.) is taken into account it costs about £60k to employ an IT graduate, doing graduate type wok. To create a quarter of a million of these jobs will cost someone £15Bn. A good question to ask is: who will pay this money (every year), what will they expect to get for it, and why would they do it in Britain when half that amount spent elsewhere would reap greater rewards.

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It works in other places

....like California. Oh, wait. Nevermind.

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Ru
Silver badge
IT Angle

Re: what programming languages, if any are taught in ICT?

Hahahahahaha.

ICT is the new touchtyping.

Anything that requires serious thought, skill or the like is quite absent from the ICT curriculum, which concerns itself with teaching people how to use Microsoft Office. There may be a module on Excel which touches upon macro programming in VBA, but it is likely to be of the copy'n'paste variety rather than actually coding up anything from scratch.

A-Level computer science has a fair bit of coding in it, but it just isn't very popular. Lots of ICT stuff at this level too, teaching stuff that R-ing the FM would also teach you.

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Allowances for tech firms.. but

No mention of the situation in this country for IT employees, particular contractors.

Migrant and flexible workers are crucial to IT projects yet our stupid government persists in trying to make out all contractors are tax dodging terrorists.

There is no magic bullet for IT in the UK, as we see over and over IT in the UK is treated with contempt and the recent layoffs have shown that ... (especially where firms now need contract workers to do what their own IT guys did until recently).

Also until we outlaw the attitude you see in business where users revel in their lack of IT knowledge as though it is something to be proud of, then the soft IT skills (like project management, account management etc) will not support the tech.

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Alert

Great "again"

I was just wondering when this mythical "great" was.....I say we just whistle up a drop ship and nuke the place from orbit - would the French really mind if we all just decamped to Brittany? I mean REALLY?

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Unhappy

Don't be daft!

It will not be IT that makes for a great GB (or is it UK? or even UKGB?) [ans: it depends where in the room British delegates wish to sit]

What will make UK (GB, UKGB) great is strict removal of numptiz, numpty methods, concepts and numpty ways of thinking. Tsk! Numpties?

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Bronze badge
IT Angle

Making Britain Great

I suggest that ye across the Irish Sea follow Ireland's model. Forget about developing local business - that doesn't lead to thousands of instant jobs. Instead try bribing large multinationals to come and create instant jobs. It's quick, it's painless and the first hit is free. Very soon you'll have your own Tiger economy (and we all know what happens to Tigers [1]).

That'll make Britain great again. Just as it made Ireland great.

Happy Days all

e.

[1] They get shot and sold off to make aphrodisiacs.

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Silver badge

'BrITain'??????

What strategy boutique bright young thing came up with that?

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Go

@ AC 11:39

"It's all very well asking for the government to impose artificial barriers but that will only save their jobs in the short term as it leaves the country less competitive on the worldwide stage."

Cheers for that. What I'm asking for in the petition is to plug the loophole thats allowing firms to make whole departments redundant and ship in cheaper overseas labour using Intra Company Transfer Visas to plug the gap.

As some others posters have noted I can't compete with that.

If they want to compete offshore, thats fine by me, if they want to come over individually and set up in business thats fine by me too. What I can't compete with (and shouldn't have to) is a corporation shipping in 100s of them en masse wrapped in cotton wool.

Shouldn't have too because whats going on is bypassing the migration points system and making a mockery of Gordon Brown's pledge of 'British Jobs for British Workers', by which he meant 'EU jobs for EU workers' I guess....

I'm just trying to highlight that the Government are not keeping their promises in this area.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Tawakalna

"the worst damage was done by Thatcher, though; once she got her teeth into us we were doomed. No doubt I'll be crucified by post-Thatcher market-force afficionados who don't remember what this country was like before it was ruined"

Er, no, that's the point. Anyone who remembers the pre-Thatcher era will actually believe quite the opposite, unless they were one of the bums (e.g. miners) that felt that everyone should subsidise their existence even though they brought nothing to the country. It was Thatchers policies that pulled Britain out of the shitter - that's why Europe called Britain the sick man of Europe, because prior to Thatcher's policy of doing away with the people who thought the the rest of the country should subsidise them to the detriment of the country as a whole, Britain was well and truly fucked. Had Thatcher not intervened and had Britain continued on that path, we would no longer be in the top 10 economies in the world, very likely not even in the top 20. But then, Thatcher whiners don't tend to look at the bigger picture, it's just a "she took my job" type of whine.

The UK has seen a drop in manufacturing because we cannot compete on the international marketplace, we've too little land mass to consistently produce our own raw materials allowing us to compete on price like India/China can. We also have a higher standard of living and better protection for workers which means costs cannot be cut there either.

It's foolish for a nation like Britain to try and claw manufacturing back, because ultimately it means dragging people's standards of living down - sorry but I'll pass on that thanks. Is it immoral that we allow other nations to do it for us such that they have lower standards of living? Right now, no, it's not because the increased income for those nations leads to a higher standard of living for those people even though ultimately it's a lower standard of living than we now expect.

The UK dropping it's manufacturing base to focus on services and technology is great for the country and great for the world. The only reason you'd hate Thatchers policies or think otherwise is if you're either ignorant to global economics or a lazy bum who likes living under Labour's "everyone else should pay for everything for me" state as it was prior to Thatcher, and as it is now, hence why the nation is again so fucked up under Labour as it always ends up being when Labour get power.

Note: I'm not a Tory supporter, I'm a Lib Dem supporter, but christ, it's pretty obvious how bad Labour's economic policies are compared to the Tories and how this has always historically been the case.

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Grenade

Must be an election on the horizon.

We had all the fuss about Technology being the future of Britain's economy back in 2003, when it was declared that Britain didn't have the native talent and would be signing greencards for anyone who could spell "I.T." The reg ran a story "So Mr Blair you think the techies can all get jobs do you?"

Had they made any sort of effort to guide GCSE kids into Engineering or compsci courses then, we'd have the graduates by now. but of course they didn't.

Of course in this country "I.T." is synonymous with "knowing how to use word" and attracts zero respect. Many of the great unwashed having no idea how different professional systams admin is from buying a PC from PC world, Or how different Academically quallified application developers are from their pathetic attempts to format excell spreadsheets. And because they're so pig-ignorant they assume that we must be thick to do these jobs.

Most school kids would be mind-buggered to think that up to 70% of their mobile phone was designed in the UK between

Phillips in Hampshire,

ARM in Cambridge,

ImgTech in Herts and

Oxford Semi in, well, Oxford.

Not to mention middleware/OS contributions from the likes of eidos and symbian.

The sad fact is that secondary school kids are being taught by morons who don't believe that britain can (or should ) do this sort of thing. They want them all to grow up and collect dole checks, with a few darlings hopefully going into the arts.

Not that all of this matters, given the typical freetard's attitude to IP do you expect fabless companies to get anything like what they deserve?

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Anonymous Coward

Reply-to-sender: The recipient leafcutter-ant@workforce.britain.eu could not be found

Even the government has been elsewhered out to Europe.

I don't really understand how they can make this claim.

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Anonymous Coward

Come work in Europe

So come work in Europe, if you have talent you don't need to go down with that NuLabour ship.

Get in the Euro zone, get paid in Euros, there will be fewer currencies once all this settles down and Euro will be there, several will not (perhaps even sterling given the Bank of England has been soaking up HM.Gov Gilts yet Brown can't control his spending) . The companies in Euro zone will survive better than those in UK and those companies will be stronger than their competitors.

We can't get our programmers to the UK for meetings (Russians working in Europe), so we don't send them, you can't compete because Labour made you into a tiny paranoid isolated island. Stupid visa takes a month to get for a 1 hour face to face! Keith Vaz complained about immigrants.... ironic or what? Vaz?

Cafe culture, drive down to the med, a few hours drive to mountains skiing, so many sites, so many events, you have the choice of so many countries. Have a drink, it's not a crime. Want to see dirty pictures? No problem, your private life is not our business. Smoke your 'lethal' pot in private, it's legal in private for several of the EU countries. Again keep it private and it's nobodies business.

Stop complaining about CCTV, and rozzers random stop and search and stupid anti speech laws, do something about it and leave.

http://emploi.trovit.fr/

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Must be an election on the horizon

"Most school kids would be mind-buggered to think that up to 70% of their mobile phone was designed in the UK between Phillips in Hampshire, ARM in Cambridge, ImgTech in Herts and Oxford Semi in, well, Oxford."

You missed one - CSR in Cambridge who provide the Bluetooth (and increasingly GPS) in many phones.

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Pint

@AC 19:07

I think you'll find that I missed many more besides, Zarlink, various mortal remains of Acorn, a few other working on multi-media and wireless chipsets... ;-) And my English teacher (Also the headmistress) thought that learning how computers worked was a complete waste of time.

As for the guy asking if the French would mind us decamping to Britany, I suggest a reciprocal scheme, we get a lease on Britany, They get to test their nukes on some of our estates. We can even lay on some chav-I mean "Representative Semi Human Analogue Test Subjects" to get really good data about what these things do.

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FAIL

As brighter minds put it

"public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite".

from the illuminaries at el reg

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/07/22/destination_moon/page3.html

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Paris Hilton

Great British Inventions

>> Most school kids would be mind-buggered to think that up to 70% of their mobile phone was designed in the UK between Phillips in Hampshire ...

would that be the dutch multinational electronics company called philips? or is there another company of that name in a shed next to the b&q outside basingstoke run by two blokes called barry and keith?

paris icon because she's had a hand in some of the most famous dutch exports.

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Pint

marketing

Isn't this just a publicity stunt for Micro Focus? If they're so concerned about the UK's IT welfare why's the only UK-based job they have on offer for an accountant?

The makingbritaingreat website has a link to brands2life, "Brands2Life is a strategic, high impact PR agency focused on helping technology-driven brands stand out from the crowd. "

I'm assuming that the "international entrepreneurs" are Andrew Orlowski's Silicon Valley bloggers.

Urghh, I need a drink.

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Happy

Abolish ICT Petition - thanks to those who have signed so far...

Thanks to those who have signed so far.....

Please consider signing my petition to have Intra Company Transfers abolished, which is on the 10 Downing Street web site at:

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Abolish-ICTs/

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Bronze badge
Flame

@AC

AC (one of them) wrote: Even the government has been elsewhered out to Europe.

Yes indeed, so why are the taxpayers still supporting this huge drain on resources? Clear Westminster, and appoint a High Commissioner and a staff of 12. We'd make billions selling all the vacant real estate to Arabs and Russians.

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Boffin

Supporting Tech Haha!!

Here's a quiz - name 4 globally successful UK hi-tech companies founded since 1997...

It's just words, as someone who spent years on multiple UK tech projects the UK Gov has no 'plan' to support any sort of ICT R&D and manufacturing, don't believe me?! try attending a few of the start-up funding forums; last one I went to broke down in chaos as the development agency folks went through the sector bias' and requirements - the audience worked out that no one in the room could benefit unless they were a large multinational and then we were informed that the budget was being cut that year anyway because "it had been too successful". Speaking to one of the agency guys in the break he said he was leaving because it was a shambles.

What's needed is positive action/ positive bias;

Try these -

1) In the US each gov' department has 1 or 2% of it's annual budget set aside with targets set to support start ups and micro businesses, not just in IT but across the board.

2) Here's another tax breaks for start ups, 3-5 years no corporation tax.

3) Oh and tax credits for companies buying from UK startups

4) Stop non-UK companies from offshoring income - i.e. setting up a UK marketing agency and then invoicing from overseas. Use the massive leap in corp tax to fund immediate skills training

Enough hot air to float a Zeppelin.

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Megaphone

Re: Great British Inventions

It might be dutch, but it's still IC development being done in Britain!

(I'm trying to think of some witty connection between mental buggery and holland.)

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