News analysis: Budget 2012

"The challenge will be in the implementation," agrees Mark Williams, a partner in the economic consulting team at Deloitte. "The broadband market in the UK moves very quickly and, if these funds are to have the desired impact, they need to be spent quickly and effectively on broadband infrastructure."

Do we believe the hype?

So is this another case of politically convenient hype, with little basis in reality? Already, the Prime Minister and Chancellor have been championing the Silicon Roundabout area of East London as a rival to Silicon Valley. The encouraging noises in the Budget about the digital economy will certainly not hurt small firms or startups.

But, as the Chancellor acknowledged with his support for "heavy" industries such as aerospace and pharmaceuticals, it takes more than a few Hoxton hipsters with a smart business plan to engender an economic recovery.

As small and medium companies in the technology sector and beyond argue, moves such as improved R&D tax credits, incentives to start new companies, or even better broadband, will do little if they continue to be wrapped in red tape.

"Increasing the R&D tax credit for smaller firms is an excellent move but its benefits will be negligible if it continues to take months for a claim to be processed," says Paul Alexander, CEO of Beyond Analysis an SME providing customer insight and strategy. "In today's highly competitive and fast-moving technology environment, a delay in funding means a delay in development and an opportunity for overseas competitors to catch up."

"What's most important from a business perspective for this Budget, is that the Government continues to take steps to create an environment in which start-ups and small businesses can grow," agrees Phil Smith, CEO, of Cisco UK and Ireland.

"There is without doubt a need for the Government to develop new sources for longterm growth in the UK and this has already led to a significant focus on the efforts of small to medium-sized enterprises, particularly those working in the area of technology-enabled innovation.

"Measures outlined by the chancellor such as enterprise finance expansion, investment in ultra-fast broadband and encouraging R&D in the UK play a critical part in this and are a positive sign," he adds.