Chancellor delivers boost for broadband and science in Autumn Statement

By Danny Palmer
05 Dec 2012 View Comments
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Chancellor George Osborne's Autum Statement today confirmed that a further 12 smaller cities will receive funding for superfast broadband, after the initial 10 were revealed earlier this year. Brighton and Hove, Cambridge, Coventry, Derby, Oxford, Portsmouth, Salford, York, Newport, Aberdeen, Perth and Londonderry will share a £50m funding pot.

The government also announced a further £600m to support scientific research, while tax relief for video games, animation and high-end television industries will be introduced from April next year.

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Corporation tax will drop by one per cent to 21 per cent from April 2014. A new business bank will set aside £1bn in capital as the government looks to tackle gaps in finance.

"The government is creating a business bank to transform the way the government delivers support to SMEs," Osborne told MPs.

Overall, businesses have cautiously welcomed the Chancellors' measures.

"There were a few positives in today's Autumn Statement, with the Chancellor highlighting the need to support SMEs and the technology sector as a whole," said Ryan Ward, head of Europe for Xactly, provider of SaaS-based sales performance management software.

"I welcome the additional £1bn capital for the business bank, which should help boost confidence in the UK start-up market and foster innovation in Britain's fast-growing technology sector.

"The cut in corporation tax, while only a minor concession, is at least a step in the right direction to attracting further foreign investment," he added.

O2 business director Ben Dowd said the Chancellor's Autumn Statement reflects a need for businesses to be more innovative.

"Today's statement may be reflective of the tough economic climate we've endured this past 12 months – but it also reflects a growing need for all businesses to re-evaluate what they're doing, how they're doing it and take better steps to reignite innovation to map Britain's future growth," he said.

"As one of the most economically progressive nations, we are falling short in bringing business innovation to the global table – and stifling our own economic recovery in the process.

"I believe that as we move into the new year, big businesses have a greater role to play in leading by example, to help drive transformation and fuel a more progressive, digital Britain," Dowd concluded.

The Labour Party argued that poor growth figures show the government's economic policy had failed, with shadow chancellor Ed Balls telling Osborne the UK is "falling behind in the global race".

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