Steve Hare, CEO of Newcastle-based global tech giant Sage, has warned that the UK risks “Falling behind” European tech competitors if the government doesn’t some serious financial commitment in March’s budget.
Taking to his LinkedIn blog with an article entitled “France’s Tech Revolution: What the UK Government Must Do to Keep Up,” Hare references a recent Sunday Times article highlighting France’s efforts to become Europe’s leading tech hub – a position “traditionally” held by the UK, and London in particular – and notes that, as a global company with a significant French business, “there are concerns that the UK is falling behind, particularly when it comes to access to financing and government support.”
Hare goes on: “It’s great to see that the new Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) is focused on boosting tech investment, but the upcoming budget in March will be a crucial moment to demonstrate the government’s commitment to the UK tech sector. We need to see bold and decisive action, such as increased tax incentives for start-ups, investment in digital infrastructure, and policies that make it easier for businesses to access talent from around the world.”
Hare concedes that tech leaders too must take their share of the responsibility by “creating a culture of innovation and collaboration, investing in R&D, and building networks to support entrepreneurs and start-ups.”
He also notes that France’s current success is not solely down to French government policy, but also the EU’s impressive ‘digital decade’ agenda to digitise its economies, an agenda of which the UK is no longer part, of course, and its tangible targets and plans, for example the intention for all intra-EU business to use e-invoicing by 2028.
Despite the warnings, Hare says he remains broadly optimistic, providing government acts quickly: “As a leader in the UK tech sector, I’m optimistic about the future, but we need to be proactive in addressing the challenges we face. We must work together with government, investors, and other stakeholders to create an environment that supports innovation and growth. Fully digitising the operating environment for SMEs would deliver £232 billion of value to the economy,” he says. “To support this ambition, I believe the government must prioritise the development of a single digital identity that is both unified and secure. Such an identity would offer an efficient and streamlined method of accessing public services and private sector applications, eliminating the need for multiple logins and passwords, and reducing administrative burdens and costs for individuals and businesses.”
The Sage chief concludes: “To achieve these goals and maintain our position as a leader in the digital age, it is crucial that the government also focuses on digital adoption rates, smarter use of data, more automation of business processes and an upskilled UK workforce. Then we can ensure that the UK remains a global leader in the digital age, and that we continue to drive the innovations that will shape the future.”
Steve Hare’s full blog can be found on his LinkedIn page.