The government and the private sector are in broad agreement that growth in the IT sector will help the UK out of the recession, according to two new initiatives launched today.Enterprise software company Micro Focus has put forward a manifesto outlining how key changes in the technology sector can increase its contribution to the UK economy.Making Britain Great Again has been endorsed by members of the House of Lords, who called on politicians to campaign for the changes in the run up to the General Election."The last thing we need is a bail out. What we want is business-led entrepreneurship," said Micro Focus chief executive Stephen Kelly."Now more than ever is the time for business, politics and academia to create more UK jobs by joining forces to implement a plan which fosters talent, and encourages fiscal support and inward investment to produce a world class intellectual property technology industry which can truly make Britain great again."The Technology, Entertainment and Design conference, meanwhile, opened today in Oxford to discuss innovation in science and economics, along with "ideas worth spreading" .The two events follow last week's launch of the first government-backed innovation awards for science and technology, intended to encourage growth in the sector.The Micro Focus plan, unveiled in Westminster, details how the UK can develop sustainable growth, employment and wealth from technology companies rich in intellectual property. It also paves the way for what the company claims could be the creation of a quarter of a million UK jobs within 10 years.Conservative peer Lord Young of Graffham, former secretary of state for employment, suggested that the government had made a major mistake in turning polytechnics into universities. "Now a lot of the UK's vocational training has disappeared," he said.Labour's Lord Harris of Haringey, meanwhile, maintained that the banking sector needs to develop a more positive attitude to entrepreneurship. If an individual borrower goes bust several times when starting up different businesses, he or she should still have the opportunity to borrow money, as happens in the US.The need for fiscal and regulatory changes were also outlined at the Micro Focus event. The manifesto called for tax incentives to encourage individuals who want to invest in growing technology businesses, as well as for companies that want to invest more in research and development, and to encourage international technology companies to invest in the UK.Liberal Democrat peer Lord Razzall of Mortlake suggested that successful technology leaders should be projected as heroes, and used to mentor those in emerging technology businesses "rather than the industry looking to Richard Branson or Alan Sugar".Lord Razzall also suggested that companies that had offshored parts of their business abroad should bring the work back to the UK. "This is why France does better than us in a lot of areas," he said.Meanwhile, IT industry analyst Richard Holway pointed out that nine out of 10 software companies that supply the UK are from France, the US and Japan, and that India is likely to make its way onto the list soon.
Issue: 315 | May 2013
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