Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced in his Spring 2023 Budget that money spent on IT equipment, plant or machinery can be deducted from taxable profits for the next three years.
He also announced measures to foster Britain’s artificial intelligence (AI) industry, which he said is home to a third of all European AI companies.
He said he accepted “the nine recommendations on digital technology made by Sir Patrick Vallance in the [emerging technologies] review that I asked him to do in the autumn statement”. These include an “AI sandbox” to help AI companies get their products to market faster.
Hunt has announced an annual prize of £1million, for the next 10 years, for the person or team that does the best UK AI research. He called it the “Manchester Prize”, after the first stored-program computer built at the University of Manchester in 1948.
Alongside the budget, the government released a quantum computing strategy, with the chancellor declaring the government’s intention to be a “world-leading quantum economy by 2033” with £2.5 billion in funding sterling.
With a nod to Michael Heseltine’s promotion of Canary Wharf and Liverpool Docks as regeneration projects, during the years of Thatcher governments and big Tories, Hunt announced 12 investment areas, which will be based in the West Midlands, Greater Manchester, the North East of England, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, East Midlands, Teesside and Liverpool. There will also be at least one in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, he said. Each area will have a university associated with a local authority, he said, and will be able to access £80m of central government support.
Hunt announced a commitment to provide £900m to implement the recommendations of the Examination of the future of computing for a exascale supercomputer. THE full spring budget report – known to connoisseurs as the “red book” – noted that “according to the Examination of the future of computing …the UK’s most powerful computer only ranks 28th in the world”.
The red book said of the government’s quantum strategy:[It] presents an ambitious new program of quantum research and innovation. The government will invest a total of £2.5 billion over 10 years, focusing on delivering four goals: ensuring the UK is home to cutting-edge quantum science and engineering; supporting businesses through innovation funding opportunities and giving them access to state-of-the-art R&D facilities; fostering the use of quantum technologies in the UK; and the creation of a national and international regulatory framework.
Gérard Grech, CEO of tech nation, welcomed the budget announcements. “Today’s budget is a positive indication of the UK government’s commitment to becoming a science and technology superpower. We welcome the measures to support the UK tech industry, including the introduction of additional tax support for R&D and announcements on an AI sandbox and ambitious quantum investment,” he said. declared.
Commenting on the UK’s position between two economic powerhouses, the US and the EU, Grech said: “We need to harness innovative regulation that will allow us to propel ourselves as an international hub and leader in AI. , quantum computing and deep technology”.
Gerard Grech, Tech Nation
Chairman of the UK Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee, MP Greg Clark, said: “I welcome the emphasis on science and technology in this budget. Sustained investment in research and development is essential to stimulate economic growth. This is why I called today for a speedy resolution of the issue of the UK’s association with Horizon Europe.
“I am delighted that the government has announced further support for quantum technologies. The Science and Technology Committee will tomorrow launch an inquiry to examine the effectiveness of the government’s quantum plan to date, and will now include the investment of 2 £.5 billion announced today and how the UK compares globally in this strategically important area.
“I also welcome the publication of Sir Patrick Vallance’s review on the pro-innovation regulation of emerging technologies. My committee will carefully consider the findings of the review, especially as we continue our investigation into the regulation of AI. We hope to question Sir Patrick on his findings and recommendations before he leaves as Chief Scientific Adviser. »