CEO of Tech UK
The vote to leave the European Union has caused much uncertainty. Our challenge is to turn that uncertainty into opportunity.
We will do that by remaining open. Firstly, the UK must stay open to global talent whilst we grow our own talent pool. UK tech is world leading because it attracts the best skills and entrepreneurs from around the world. To prepare for Brexit tech businesses want a smart immigration system that is responsive, fast and frictionless and a smart skills strategy that prepares people today for the jobs of tomorrow.
Secondly, the UK must have open access to the European single market. UK tech is highly integrated with European markets and must be able to compete on equal terms following the UK’s departure from the EU. Tech firms need to be able to do business across Europe in a way that is clear, consistent, predictable and scalable.
Thirdly, we need an open borderless world for data. A modern service-based economy cannot thrive unless data can travel seamlessly around the world. This is not just a tech issue, it impacts the whole of the services sector– from financial services to the creative industries. Failure to secure the free flow of data would create the biggest single trade barrier facing the UK economy in a post-Brexit world.
Fourthly, we need to open the flood gates to investment in digital infrastructure. To compete in a post-Brexit world the UK needs world-leading, fixed and mobile networks. The UK has always been one of the most competitive markets for communications services. It now needs to be the most attractive market for investment and to build the infrastructure that will underpin our future growth.
Finally, we must be open to collaboration as we forge this new future. The public and private sectors need to work together to ask what we can do differently to make this country even better than before.
All of this must be done at pace, to signal to the world that the UK is open to investment and innovation – determined to maintain the great British tradition of inventing the future.