What does Brexit mean for Tech in the UK?

23 Jun 2017

Posted by Natalie Wiggins

On the anniversary of the Brexit vote we take a look at the status of how it has and will affect the UK within the Tech field.

There will be a mandatory two-year minimum period in which the UK will remain a member of the EU whilst we negotiate an exit, and although the initial outlook was doom and gloom, things seem to not be as bad as first thought. According to the Telegraph “in defiance of the widespread concerns, the industry has been thriving in the wake of the decision to leave with investment and expansion thriving.”

“ defiance of the widespread concerns, the industry has been thriving in the wake of the decision to leave with investment and expansion thriving.” The Telegraph 

Investment & Research Grants

Some technology firms and other British institutions receive funds and research grants from the EU and the private equity firm Better Capital, (a European Investment Fund based in Luxembourg) invests heavily in UK venture capital firms and has warned that they "would probably stop investing in the UK" if Britain left the EU.

“Between 2007 and 2013 the EU funded nearly £7bn worth of research. Once British contributions to this funding are taken into account, this worked out as a net gain of about £300m a year for the UK.” Source: TechRepublic

Although, apparently £6.7 billion or so was invested in UK tech companies last year in 2016, according to research from London and Partners with the main driver of investment being solid and innovative ideas, suggesting that Brexit may not have that much of a negative affect on investment in the UK.

We have also seen major tech companies such as Apple (who will have their Head Quarters based in Battersea), Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon all announced they will investment heavily in the UK, which in turn will provide thousands more jobs to the country.

Access to Skills and Talent

One area that could be of concern is the subject of visas for non-UK EU citizens with no guarantee that they can continue to live in the UK. It will therefore mean more time, money and effort will be needed to recruitment IT professionals from within the UK and the existing skills shortage will worsen.

Regulatory Barriers and Trade Tariffs

We will start to see World Trade Organization rules applying which will undoubtedly make UK exporters pay new EU import tariffs, with the UK having to renegotiate more than 50 free trade deals with many countries worldwide.

How the tech firms in the UK will regulate handling data is another question - how they process it and where it can be stored. Negotiations will be going on with regards to a new deal for the transatlantic transfer of personal data, under the EU-US Safe Harbor agreement, Privacy Shield. There may well end up being a mis-match or some disjointed policies with regards to the new General Data Protection Regulation (which firms operating in EU member states have to comply with by June 2018. The UK’s data protection regulations will need to match the EU’s and the European Court of Justice will have to agree that the UK's laws protect European citizens' personal data.

“Experts have suggested the Investigatory Powers Bill could threaten your privacy by weakening encryption and requiring companies to store more information about customers”

Data collection and analysis is important but how it is collected is also important and this bill questions will we ever truly have privacy again?

With all the uncertainty, who really knows what will or won’t happen, but something that might be of interest is this neat site ‘Brexit Tracker’ that allows you to track how Brexit is potentially impacting your business and the businesses around you. It follows over 390 economic indicators and updates your Brexit profile automatically to give you reports and frequent measurable analysis for your business.

Webigence are a specialist ASP.NET Web Development company based in London. We're in the top 1% of MicrosoftPartners with the Gold certification for Application Development.

Talk to us about your next project. Email or call 020 8405 6300.

Natalie Wiggins
Posted by Natalie Wiggins

Having worked at Webigence since 2013 I have been in a multi-tasking role of client liaising, project managing, networking, new business development, invoicing, aspects of HR and new recruitment, social media growth, as well as managing the day-to-day running of the office and the MD's requirements.

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