March 16, 2018

Thoughts on the Spring Statement 2018

On Tuesday, Philip Hammond delivered the 2018 Spring Budget.  If you missed it, you’re not alone – many felt the update was rather underwhelming, with key issues not fully addressed.  For the startup world, it’s much the same with not a lot to take away. But here’s what we took as the salient points.

 

T-Levels

 

This is right at the top of the pile of hot topics for high-growth businesses.  With Brexit looming and a real strain on the economy, we all want to know what the budget will allocate to talent.  Philip stated £500m will go towards T-level education.

 

What are T-Levels?  

 

They are a new band of technical qualification for 16 to 19-year-olds, set out to make access to the job market easier.  The courses will allow study in 15 sectors, the first three of which has been announced to be in:

 

  • Digital
  • Construction
  • Education and Childcare

 

This will clearly have an impact on the future of tech employment, with the opportunity for a robust digital education.

 

The government is putting £50m to help employers roll out placements for T-level students and £80m to aid small businesses engaging apprenticeships.

 

This may play well as there is an increased scepticism of the value of a university education.  In Silicon Valley, we’re seeing a growing mindset that it’s better avoided in order to pursue entrepreneurial endeavours.  In the US, Peter Thiel has even started a fellowship that pays students under 23 to do just this! If this mindset sticks and the degree starts to lose its value, T-levels in our industry will certainly rise.

 

Broadband

 

We’ve been talking about the rollout of new high-speed broadband for a while and now the first funding allocation has been set.  £95m will be given to bring full-fibre broadband to 13 local areas across the UK. When will this be rolled out? It’s still unknown, but at least we’re one step closer.

 

Cash

 

The future of UK cash is going digital, as the Chancellor declares his support for FinTech firms and gives a shout out to TransferWise.  The government will engage in consultation to look at the role of cash in the new economy. This includes what demand will be for 1p and 2p coins, £50 notes and how to make sure people who need to use cash are able to do, but ultimately, it means a development into the importance of FinTech and a look at a cashless economy.

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