Yesterday the UK PM Theresa May explained what she actually meant by “Brexit means Brexit” making it clear that the UK would not seek a partial membership to the EU but would negotiate a completely new trade agreement.
She also outlined her 12 main objectives for the UK, following the divorcing process from the single market. The 10th point of this 12 part statement was that the government would ensure for the UK to remain the best place for science and innovation in Europe, which is obviously of great interest to the fintech community.
From Davos, Richard Muirhead, a tech entrepreneur and General Partner at the venture firm OpenOcean, reacted to this point: “Mrs May rightly stated that as a nation we have a proud history of leading and supporting cutting edge innovation, however, conversations here in Davos have only underlined that with Brexit and the continued uncertainty around the shape it shall take we are increasingly putting at risk our reputation.”
According to Muirhead there are three things the government needs to do to maintain this title. Firstly, the governement should “make it easier to attract, recruit and retain top talent” by “expanding the fast track visa programmes and giving academic talent the possibility and comfort to choose Britain’s universities as their home for research”. Secondly, the governement should support and be a customer to UK-based tech companies and “encourage businesses large and small to do likewise”. Lastly, it should incentivise “seed investment with tax breaks and multiply the funds allocated to invest alongside the existing home venture industry” as well as encouraging the creation of new home venture firms.
Many professionals in the tech industry believe that the government has yet to provide a comprehensive breakdown of the changes to come for firms to confidently invest in UK tech. Another popular concern regards the challenges that a strict immigration policy might represent for the availability of talent and academics in the UK. Muirhead stated: “The PM must now look to provide clarity in the coming weeks on how this objective, along with the other eleven, will be achieved.”