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Autumn Statement 2023: All the UK tech announcements

Stay up-to-date with all the tech-related announcements in the UK government's Autumn Statement

UK chancellor Jeremy Hunt arrives for the Autumn Statement at Downing Street, London.
(Image: © Getty Images)

Welcome to ITPro's live coverage of the 2023 Autumn Statement, where UK chancellor Jeremy Hunt will provide an insight into the government's fiscal strategy for the coming months.

A raft of tech-related announcements are expected in the Autumn Statement, and Hunt will provide a glimpse into how the government plans to support the country's burgeoning technology industry. 

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While we're waiting for the chancellor to begin his address to the House of Commons, why not catch up on some of our pre-Autumn Statement tech coverage. 

Hunt is expected to announce a new tech investment scheme for the UK, which looks to mirror the success of the Kauffman Foundation’s Fellows Program in the US.

•  UK chancellor looks to mirror US tech investment success in Autumn Statement

PMQs has come to an end and up next will be the chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, to give the 2023 Autumn Statement. 

Hunt begins by discussing the government's actions to target reducing inflation. In today's statement he says the government is focussed on reducing debt, cutting taxes, and boosting investment in British businesses.

The chancellor is now talking about the measures the government is putting in place to control inflation. 

Inflation has been a stumbling block for businesses this year, and the chancellor says  the government will continue to back the Bank of England in its efforts to bring inflation down to its target set for 2024.

Hunt has moved on to discuss the cost of living crisis that citizens are currently struggling with and how the government plans on easing the pressures on households in the UK. 

Next up on the agenda is borrowing. Hunt states according to OBR borrowing is lower this year and will be next year also. 

The government has set a fiscal rule that public sector borrowing must be below 3% of GDP in every year of the forecast.

The chancellor is now discussing the government's plans for growth in the UK.

Hunt will now talk about supply side reforms to back British businesses in key areas.

The first key area is skills. The chancellor relays the governments plans to increase the number of apprentices with a further £50 million of funding to increase the number of apprentices in engineering and other key growth sectors.

The next key area is planning. From next year the chancellor will reform the planning system to allow local authorities  recover the full costs of major business planning applications in return for meeting faster timelines.

If they fail, the fees will be refunded automatically.

Hunt is now talking about the government's efforts to address the planning backlog and deliver more new homes across the UK.

Hunt claims these planning reforms are estimated to accelerate £90 billion of additional business investment over the next ten years.

Hunt announces pension reforms to increase flow of capital to the UK's most promising growth companies. 

This includes taking forward the chancellor's innovation-focussed Mansion House reforms.

These reforms could unlock extra £75 billion of financing for high growth companies.

Up next is measures to support the UK's innovative industries.

Hunt reports UK has grown to become the third largest tech sector in the world. Double the size of Germany and three times the size of France.

Hunt acknowledges the role of AI in future growth, as such he wants to make sure universities and startups can access the compute power they need.

In addition to supercomputing projects at the universities in Bristol and Edinburgh the government will invest £500 million over the next two years to fund further innovation centres to help make the UK an AI powerhouse

The chancellor is now discussing the UK's R&D in the UK, with a new tax relief program to reduce the rate at which loss-making companies are taxed, as well as lowering the threshold for additional financial support for R&D-intensive loss-making SMBs.

Hunt has published the government's plans to roll out £4.5 billion of support over five years to attract investment in strategic manufacturing investments. 

This will include £2 billion of support for zero-emission investments in the automotive sector.

Hunt says the targeted investments in the country's fastest growing innovation areas will attract an estimated £2 billion pounds of additional investment every year over the next decade.

Hunt has now turned to his levelling up measures. The chancellor recalls the government announcement of 12 new investment zones across the UK where research institutes, government, and industry collaborate on boosting innovation in the local area.

On Monday, Hunt confirmed a new investment zone in West Yorkshire, and is now announcing three further investment zones in the West Midlands, East Midlands, and Greater Manchester.

These zones should help catalyze £3 billion in private investment and 65,000 new jobs. A further investment zone will be created in Wales in the region of Wrexham and Flintshire. 

Hunt is now covering the government's plans to invest in the regeneration of local regions across the UK.

Next up is addressing concerns of small businesses around late payments and small business rates.

Finally, the chancellor has moved on to outline the government's plans to support the self-employed in the UK.

Hunt's final measure to back British business is to raise productivity by further increasing business investment.

This Spring, the chancellor introduced full expensing for three years, meaning for every £1 million a company invests they will receive £250,000 off their tax bill in the same year.

Business leaders have said making this measure permanent would be the single most transformative measure the government could take for business investment and growth.

Hunt reports the Centre for Policy studies say this would maximize business investment, boost productivity, and deliver higher levels of GDP. 

The chancellor announces today he will make full expensing permanent. The largest business tax cut in modern British history.

This means the UK will have the lowest headline corporation tax rate in the G7 and its most generous capital allowances.

The OBR says this will increase annual investment by around £3 billion a year.

Hunt calls this a "huge boost to British competitiveness". Business investment since 2010 has been 9.8% of GDP, today this will increase by 1% of GDP at today's level. 

Hunt describes this as "a decisive step towards closing the productivity gap with other major economies". 

In addition to backing business, Hunt makes clear he plans on backing the people behind business to improve the incentive to work with three new supply side reforms. 

First up is welfare. Hunt announces he plans on helping those with sickness, disability, and the long-term unemployed.

This includes reforming the work capability assessment to reflect the greater flexibility and availability of home work.

If, after 18 months of support, an individual remains unemployed, the government will require the job seeker to undergo mandatory work placements to increase their skills and improve employability.

Second is tackling low pay. Hunt reports since 2010, those on the national living wage have seen a real terms pay increase of 20%, and after tax income has gone up by 25%.

Today the government will increase the national living wage to £11.44 an hour.

For the final supply side measure the government will cut the main 12% rate of employee national insurance by 2% to 10%. 

This will affect 27 million people, and will give the average nurse a saving of £520 every year.

This measure will be brought in as soon as 6 January if the government's urgent legislation is agreed to.

Hunt describes the UK economy as "Europe's most innovative" stating that his Autumn Statement will attract £20 billion in additional business investment every year for the next decade.

And that brings the 2023 Autumn Statement to a close. Highlights of the chancellor's statements that will impact the UK technology sector include:

• Four new investment zones in West Midlands, East Midlands, Greater Manchester, and Wrexham & Flintshire, in addition to the 12 announced earlier this week.

• Adding to previous supercomputing projects at both the University of Bristol and University of Edinburgh, Hunt announced £500 million over the next two years to fund further innovation centres to make the UK and "AI powerhouse".

• In a focus on growing the skills of the British workforce the government will spend £50 million on increasing the number of apprentices in engineering and other key growth sectors.

• Reforms to planning and the energy sector will free up £90 billion of additional business investment over the next decade.

• A new tax relief program for R&D-focussed companies, and lowered thresholds for additional financial support to R&D-intensive SMBs.