As you’re doubtless aware (you can’t have missed it if you’ve been near a TV today), the Chancellor has been waving his red budget box around today, and has made some interesting moves from the point of view of the tech industry.
Perhaps the biggest development on the tech front is that an Alan Turing Institute is to be founded, with Osborne backing the project with £42 million.
It’s not clear whether this will be a new building, or whether it will be housed in an existing one, but wherever it is, the mission of the Institute will be to make sure that the UK is a leading light when it comes to big data research. It will bring together a range of experts who will collectively help to solve problems that require major computational power and massive data crunching.
According to the Guardian, a Treasury spokesman said: “The intention is for the work to benefit British companies to have an advantage in big data.”
Furthermore, Osborne is also establishing a centre to further the development of graphene, as part of the Catapult network, which is working to push new technology forward.
Osborne wants to give the tech industry a considerable boost, along with manufacturing. IT Pro noted that the Chancellor said to Parliament: “If Britain isn’t leading the world in science and technology and engineering, then we are condemning our country to fall behind. So we will establish new centres for doctoral training, for Cell Therapy and for Graphene – a great British discovery that we should break the habit of a lifetime with and commercially develop in Britain.”
As for the centres for doctoral training, C-Net noted that Osborne pledged £106 million to be used over the next five years to establish some 20 of these. They will be partnerships between the government, universities and businesses to train postgrads and further research new tech.
While the film industry saw some tax breaks, the video game industry wasn’t mentioned to the disappointment of many.
It’s also worth noting that Osborne has moved against tax avoiders, and has given the Inland Revenue greater powers to crack down on rich individuals and companies who dance around tax issues.
And in more general terms, he’s knocked a penny off a pint (cheers!), and upped the personal tax allowance to £10,500 (from next year).