UK business leaders announce a ‘Brexit resolution’ for Theresa May

Brent Hoberman CBE, Sherry Coutu CBE, and Richard Richard CBE want government to ensure the UK remains a major global force in technology and innovation

Business leaders from across the UK have come together to announce a ‘Brexit resolution’ for prime minister Theresa May, to ensure the UK remains a major global force.

TechCrunch’s London Brexit Sentiment Survey features recommendations from the likes of Founders Forum’s Brent Hoberman CBE, Sherry Coutu CBE and Innocent Drinks co-founder Richard Reed CBE,

It urges the government to make a statement on nine key issues:

  • Skilled migration – ensure the UK and its universities are open to skilled workers with the implementation of a “STEM Passport” and a zero tolerance policy approach to hate crime
  • Education – ensure government, businesses and start-ups work together to develop a domestic strategy that will foster the next generation of digital skills
  • Investment – reform to R&D tax credits to help the share of private and public R&D spend to increase, and for the government to address any shortfall caused by the withdrawal of EIF funds through the British Business Bank
  • Business incentives – a tax rebate for small businesses if their business rates account for more than 5% of overheads and the expansion of Enterprise Zones and rewards for large corporates that support and invest in start-ups
  • Promotion of the UK – the launch of a ‘Tech Britain is Open’ campaign to complement the Mayor of London’s current ‘London Is Open’ campaign and emphasise the UK tech sector
  • Diversity – encourage and provide incentives for tech companies that increase gender diversity on the boards and encourage events and organisations that promote cohesiveness in civil society
  • Single Market access – campaign for access to both the Single Market and the EU’s Digital Single Market and lobby for a similar scheme to the EU Startup Passport
  • Market stimulants – continue to send a positive message with regulatory arbitrage on matters such as blockchain, drones and fintech. Ensure organisations such as the NHS, London Transport and government can be customers for start-ups. Ensure the R&D fund supports future industries such as AI and robotics and highlight the benefits of tech for everyone from start-ups to large corporates and industrial employers
  • International policy – continue to engage major global tech giants to encourage their presence in the UK and allow UK firms to be part of the EU data regime or the US

Bernard Liautaud, general partner at Balderton Capital; Dale Murray CBE, co-founder of Omega Logic and Startups Awards judge; Edward Wray, co-founder of Betfair; Kathryn Parsons, co-founder of Decoded; Niklas Zennström, founding partner of Atomico; and Sonali De Rycker, general partner at Accel Partners also made contributions.

In an open letter, the entrepreneurs stated: “Right now the UK is the destination for European tech talent, attracting almost 50% more searches for tech jobs than Germany, its nearest rival […] Meanwhile, the tech sector is creating jobs faster than any other industry, with the UK growing 50% faster than the European average.”

The letter concluded: “It is important for all the UK’s business sectors that the tech sector continues to flourish, since all business now runs on and is affected by technology.

“We would like the UK government to make a clear statement on the below issues, which would do much to ensure the tech sector isn’t damaged by recent rhetoric.”

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