- The government is investing an extra £21 million into Tech City UK over four years.
- It’s also increasing the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa cap to 2,000, up from 1,000.
- The prime minister will host a roundtable at Downing Street on Wednesday for people in tech.
The UK Government announced on Tuesday that it’s investing an extra £21 million into technology organisation Tech City UK and doubling the number of visas available for a scheme often used by people working in technology.
Tech City UK is a semi-public organisation that works to help growing technology companies in the UK. The announcement from Number 10 said that the new money would go towards the expansion of its “Tech Nation” scheme intended to encourage tech outside of East London’s technology cluster.
So that means that Tech City UK will rebrand to Tech Nation and will aim to launch similar projects to its local Tech North initiative across the country.
A spokesperson for the prime minister told Business Insider that the extra £21 million in funding will be invested over four years. That’s on top of Tech City UK’s current government budget of around £2 million per year.
Tech City UK said in a statement that it will use the extra money to fund more tech clusters in the UK. Here are the current tech clusters it identified as being part of Tech Nation:
- North East: Newcastle
- Midlands: Birmingham
- Scotland: Edinburgh and Glasgow
- Northern Ireland: Belfast
- Wales: Cardiff
- Greater London: London
More clusters will be announced in the Budget on November 22, Tech City UK said.
Number 10 also announced that it would double the maximum amount of Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visas available from 1,000 to 2,000. However, the number of visas earmarked for people in tech isn’t necessarily doubling. A Home Office spokesperson told Business Insider that the additional visas wouldn’t be allocated to any specific sector but instead would be “allocated according to need.”
Prime Minister Theresa May released this statement about the news:
“Our digital tech sector is one of the UK’s fastest-growing industries, and is supporting talent, boosting productivity, and creating hundreds of thousands of good, high-skilled jobs up and down the country. It is absolutely right that this dynamic sector, which makes such an immense contribution to our economic life and to our society, has the full backing of Government.
Helping our world-class entrepreneurs and innovators to succeed is how we lay the foundations for our prosperity and build an economy fit for the future. Technology is at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy, and we will continue to invest in the best new innovations and ideas, in the brightest and best talent, and in revolutionary digital infrastructure. And as we prepare to leave the European Union, I am clear that Britain will remain open for business. That means Government doing all it can to secure a strong future for our thriving tech sector and ensure people in all corners of our nation share in the benefits of its success.”
The prime minister will hold a roundtable discussion at Downing Street on Wednesday with several prominent technology entrepreneurs and figures. Here’s the list of people attending:
- Eileen Burbidge, chair of Tech City UK
- Sherry Coutu CBE, chair of Founders4Schools and the Scaleup Institute
- Herman Narula, cofounder of Improbable
- Brent Hoberman, cofounder and chairman of Founders Forum
- Ali Parsa, CEO and founder of Babylon
- Dr Sue Black OBE of Techmums
- Nick Sturge, CEO of Engine Shed
- Conrad Simpson, director of Cyphra
- Aldo Monteforte, CEO of The Floow
- Tabitha Goldstaub, CEO of CognitionX
- Matt Moulding, CEO of The Hut Group
- Tamara Rajah, cofounder of Live Better With
- Tom Walkinshaw, founder and CEO of Alba Orbital