The Government should enhance Research and Development tax reliefs available for investment in green technology. In November 2020, the Prime Minister announced his plan for a ‘Green Industrial Revolution’ but the financial commitments to date are fairly modest. Developing new technology is inherently risky and countries all over the world are scrambling to be at the forefront of the green economy – the Chancellor must look to make sure that the UK is considered a favourable location to set up shop.
Government grants to facilitate learning and development of new skills are key to support the technology sector. Businesses in other sectors are looking to take advantage of ‘Industry 4.0’ but doing so requires retraining parts of the existing workforce so they can adapt to the new technology. Targeted grants to small and medium-sized businesses to retrain employees, for example those on a production line, to understand automation, machine learning and data analytics would be a welcome announcement by the Chancellor.
Only 65% of the UK has access to ultrafast broadband. The pandemic is fast tracking our use of new technology, whether it is home learning, online retailing, or remote working. Every home should have affordable access to fast broadband. The Government must resist the temptation to restrict spending on the rollout further and commit to fibre broadband in every home by 2025.
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