• Digital Single Market

    Tim Farron: Brexit would be a disaster for UK tech sector

    London's status as the digital capital of Europe would be at risk if we shut the door on the world's largest market, says the leader of UK Liberal Democrats Tim Farron. The Digital Post: What are the major dangers the UK might face if it chooses to leave [read more]
    byThe Digital Post | 04/Apr/20165 min read
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    London’s status as the digital capital of Europe would be at risk if we shut the door on the world’s largest market, says the leader of UK Liberal Democrats Tim Farron.

    The Digital Post: What are the major dangers the UK might face if it chooses to leave the EU?

    Tim Farron says rebuilding the Lib Dems may be easier given the scale of the party's losses

    Tim Farron: Leaving the EU would damage the UK’s prosperity, security and influence in the world. Our ability to tackle major international challenges like terrorism or climate change depends on us being able to work closely with our neighbours.

    As the UK’s most internationalist and outward-looking party, the Liberal Democrats’ position is clear:

    [Tweet “Britain is better off in Europe and Europe is better off with Britain in it.”]

     

    The Digital Post: What Brexit would mean for the thriving UK tech sector? How leaving the EU could affect this industry?

    TF: Brexit would be a disaster for the UK’s tech sector. Almost nine in ten firms in the tech sector oppose leaving the EU. The ability to recruit skilled people easily from across the continent is hugely important. Many tech start-ups in the UK have been set up by people from around Europe, driving growth and creating new jobs in our economy.

    London’s status as the digital capital of Europe would be at risk if we shut the door on the world’s largest market.

     

    The Digital Post: David Cameron’s policy on immigration has drawn criticism from the UK tech industry given that this latter is highly dependent on foreign talents. What is your opinion?

    TF: I see immigration as a blessing, not a curse. Since the turn of the century, immigration has added £20 billion to the UK economy.  The Conservative Government must also stop sending mixed messages to the world’s entrepreneurs. Our country thrives when we are open to the world and welcome those who want to work hard, pay into the system and contribute to our economy and society.

     

    photo credits: Boston Public Library
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  • A conversation with

    Why Brexit will hurt the UK tech sector

    In case of Brexit, UK tech would risk losing out on what is the most vibrant and growing sector of the UK economy, argues Tech London Advocates founder and chair Russ Shaw.   The Digital Post: How the UK government’s increasingly restrictive ap [read more]
    byThe Digital Post | 11/Sep/20154 min read
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    In case of Brexit, UK tech would risk losing out on what is the most vibrant and growing sector of the UK economy, argues Tech London Advocates founder and chair Russ Shaw.

     

    The Digital Post: How the UK government’s increasingly restrictive approach to immigration is affecting the domestic tech sector and why?

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    Russ Shaw: The pipeline for tech talent needs to be much larger, but the government’s increasingly restrictive approach to immigration is slowing this down. Experts predict that by 2020 we will suffer from a shortage of 300,000 digitally-skilled people. Members of Tech London Advocates have consistently identified a shortage of talent as the single biggest obstacle to the continued growth of London’s technology sector. The UK needs a growing, not a shrinking pool of skilled tech workers.

     

    The Digital Post: Is this having an impact, or could it have an impact, on the European tech ecosystem as a whole?

    Russ Shaw: London has been branded the most important tech hub across Europe, with the number of companies in London’s digital technology sector increasing by 46% since the launch of Tech City five years ago. Further restrictions to immigration policy could cause a redistribution of tech companies and leaders across other European capitals. Countries with more flexible immigration policies and respected tech reputations will attract much more EU and global talent deflected by UK immigration policy.

     

    The Digital Post: The government immigration plans are not only targeting non-EU citizens. The Home Secretary openly called into question the free movement of workers across Europe. What this mean from the perspective of the UK tech industry?

    Russ Shaw: The UK’s tech sector thrives off its diversity and international community. Thus, calling into question the free movement of workers across the Europe will distance us from the very tool central to much of the UK tech industry’s success.

     

    The Digital Post: What would an EU exit mean for UK tech?

    Russ Shaw: UK tech would risk losing out on what is the most vibrant and growing sector of the UK economy.  Businesses will look to expand elsewhere and miss out on being part of EU-wide initiatives like the Digital Single Market, currently under development and discussion within the EU.

    According to research conducted by business intelligence company Duedil and the Centre for Entrepreneurs, immigrant entrepreneurs have founded one in every seven companies in the UK and employ 1.16m people around the country. We need to continue to build the attractiveness for entrepreneurs doing business in London and across the UK in order to retain and nurture the best talent and create job growth.

     

    photo credit: Jens Aarstein Holm
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