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Brexit: Tech Industry Reacts As PM May Says UK Will Leave EU Single Market

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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TECH VIEW: Brexit is on, but what does the tech industry think?

It was no secret that the majority of the UK tech industry was in favour of staying a member of the European Union. Fast forward six months and the vision of a post-Brexit Britain is no clearer. 

Today, Prime Minister Theresa May sought to address the uncertainty with a speech that confirmed the UK would withdraw from the European Single Market – a move which will impact the tech sector, especially with regards to funding, regulation and talent. 

We spoke to a couple of tech firms and industry bodies to provide an insight into what the industry is thinking. 

Europe

Alister Esam, CEO eShare 

“I didn’t buy into the doom and gloom that surrounded Brexit at the time and I don’t after the Prime Minister’s speech today. When we leave the EU the UK will have a GDP of nearly 25 percent of the EU and it’s hard to take seriously any worries about us not having  a trade agreement. The UK remains a great country for technology and business overall and the EU will want to trade with us. We will be the most EU-aligned of non-EU countries, so we will trade with the EU more than any other non-EU country in the world. 

“I still believe we will have a tough ride in the short term though. There remains uncertainty about how exactly everything will fall into place, and it depends on how readily other European leaders can sit down with the UK and agree a deal that works for all parties.” 

Martin Campbell, MD of fintech firm Ormsby Street 

“It was no real surprise to see Theresa May focus so strongly on controlling immigration, but it was still disappointing. One-quarter of my company’s workforce comes from the EU and there can be no denying the positive impact made by many EU nationals to the UK technology and startup sectors. Our ability to bring to the UK the skills and capacity in our workforce that we need to grow and innovate is key to ensuring the success of the British economy. 

“I was always hopeful that Brexit would allow the UK to remain part of the single market, and as a fintech firm it has been very beneficial for us. Now, British firms won’t have trading rights with no tariffs, and won’t have a voice when regulations are determined. This is particularly pertinent when it comes to cross-border access in financial services, and despite the Prime Minister’s claims today, there is no guarantee that this will be agreed. 

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