TECH VIEW: Brexit is on, but what does the tech industry think?
“Until Brexit happens though, it is impossible to say. The uncertainty facing the business environment at the moment is very difficult and is certainly causing challenges in my business where we work with SMEs and large banks – both are playing a ‘wait and see’ game and avoiding long term commitments. We won’t see the real scope of what the future is likely to look like until we see the reaction from France, Germany and our other major European partners to that actually happening.”
James Chappell, CTO and co-founder of cybersecurity specialist Digital Shadows
“We welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to the principle of keeping the UK open to securing international talent from the EU and beyond. Technology based business such as Digital Shadows need to have access to the best brains from around the world and without it the UK technology sector could stagnate.
“In certain key areas such as cyber security and data science there are simply not enough skilled professionals in the UK alone. Therefore, it’s vital that the Prime Minister prioritises access to skilled professionals in her negotiations with the EU and agrees a process that is frictionless as possible.”
Anthony Walker, deputy CEO of trade association techUK
“The European Union is a hugely important market for UK tech, and is the destination for over 40% of UK digital exports. Similarly European businesses are highly integrated with the UK’s technology sector. There are big incentives on all parties to get Brexit right. The PM made this clear today.
“The UK tech sector is highly integrated with suppliers and customers across Europe and depends everyday on laws and regulations set at European level. Leaving the Single Market will have a bigger impact on tech than the rest of the UK economy. That is why it is essential that the government does everything that it can to secure a soft landing for Brexit. The Prime Minister’s objective to reach an agreement on a future partnership arrangement within two years followed by a period for phased implementation appears a sensible approach although businesses will be looking for further detail.
“The crux for tech will be about building a bridge between membership of the single market and a future free trade agreement. That bridge needs to be solid and dependable if businesses are going to have confidence in it.
“Tech businesses will be realistic about how difficulty of achieving this within these timescales. Government will need to understand the needs of the sector in detail and persuade its counterparts across Europe of the benefit of striking a positive deal. The risk of falling off a regulatory cliff edge in two years’ time has not gone away. However if a smooth and orderly exit can be achieved from the EU then the UK’s thriving tech sector can go on to be the powerhouse of Global Britain”.
“Many will be heartened by the Prime Minister’s clear commitment to UK leadership in science and technology as a key aim of exit negotiations, with acknowledgement that the UK will still be involved in collaborative European projects such as science and space. Similarly, the Prime Minister has outlined that the UK must continue to be a magnet for international talent and home to pioneers and innovators. This sends a positive signal but tech companies need certainty sooner rather than later on how a reformed migration system will work in practice.
“The UK’s future depends on securing the benefits of the digital age – from investment in digital infrastructure to equipping our young people with the skills they need to thrive in digital economy. The UK’s economic future depends on a Brexit plan and industrial strategy that go hand in hand, with the needs of UK tech at their heart.”