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PM Theresa May to reveal Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to support UK tech

Theresa May
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PM Theresa May will outline the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to support UK technology today.

May will deliver the proposals during her first Cabinet meeting this morning, outlining how her government is looking to focus on innovative technologies including AI, robotics and 5G wireless internet as part of its Modern Industrial Strategy.

The Fund is part of a £4.7bn initiative announced by the PM back in November.

The Conservative manifesto: What does it mean for UK tech?

In the aerospace industry, collaborations between government and industry through initiatives such as the Aerospace Growth Partnership look to create a better business environment for advanced engineering, design and manufacturer, and create employment for highly skilled individuals.

It is hoped the institution-backed approach outlined today will build on this, enabling vital partnerships on R&D throughout the supply chain.

“The Modern Industrial Strategy will back Britain for the long term: creating the conditions where successful businesses can emerge and grow, and backing them to invest in the long-term future of our country,” said May.

“It will be underpinned by a new approach to government, not just stepping back but stepping up to a new, active role that backs business and ensures more people in all corners of the country share in the benefits of its success,” she added.

Tech skills

By investing in infrastructure and research, it is also hoped that the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund will create more high-skilled, well-paid jobs and opportunities.

Mike Cherry, national chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), commented: “FSB has appreciated being part of the discussions with the Business Secretary since last year to help shape the Industrial Strategy. We are proud to be influencing a major government economic blueprint and particularly pleased with the push on skills, infrastructure and connectivity as important drivers of productivity and industry.”

As well as investing in science, research and innovation, the Modern Industrial Strategy green paper sets out plans to develop skills by building a new technology education system and boosting STEM, digital skills and numeracy for non-university students.

A helping hand

The Modern Industrial Strategy has been warmly welcomed by members of the UK’s tech industry.

Francis Turner, UK managing director at Adyoulike, commented: “Today’s announcement by the government to put significant funding into developing technologies like artificial intelligence is to be welcomed. Technologies such as AI aren’t just the future, they are already here and are making a significant impact on the businesses and industries that are using them.

“The vast majority of innovation will come down to the founders and staff of individual companies and from my own experience, government, to date, has done little to nothing to support business. However a helping hand from the government, especially in funding the development of technologies such as AI, can only be a good thing and will assist British businesses to compete globally,” he added.

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