2021 Budget breakdown: Tech placed front and centre of economic growth and recovery

After an unprecedented year for business and the economy, Rishi Sunak’s 2021 budget has set out the steps the government is taking to support the UK’s economic recovery, with radical new incentives for business investment and help for companies to attract the capital, ideas, and talent to grow.

As part of the investment led recovery, the government has pledged to help more than 100,000 small businesses to boost their productivity by improving management and adopting new technologies. This will enable companies to learn new skills, save time and money and reach their full potential.

Sounds good doesn’t it? But in the cold light of day, what does this mean for you and your company and how can you find out more?

At Digital Somerset, we understand how essential SMEs are when it comes to innovation, growth and overall contribution the UK’s economic success. We also know how difficult it can be for small businesses to find and access this much needed support.

With this in mind, we have saved you a job and have taken it upon ourselves to read all 110 pages (yes really!) of the official budget document  in order to highlight some of the key digital initiatives and support packages you might want to have on your radar.

Help to grow: Digital scheme:

The Help to Grow: Digital scheme, has been designed to help small and medium sized companies across the UK learn new skills, reach new customers, and increase profits. The scheme will provide free impartial advice via an online platform about how technology can boost business performance. In addition, eligible businesses will be entitled to a discount of up to 50% on the costs of approved software, worth up to a value of £5,000.

Vouchers will be made available for eligible businesses to help:

  • Build customer relationships and increase sales.
  • Make the most of selling online.
  • Digitally manage accounting processes.

Before you assume your business is not eligible for the scheme, check out the criteria below. It is broader and simpler than you might expect:

  • You must employ between 5 and 249 employees and be registered at Companies House.
  • You must have been trading for more than 12 months.
  • You must be purchasing the discounted software for the first time.

Fast-track visa:

A new fast-track visa is being launched to fill the current skills gap within the tech sector post-Brexit. The visa is set to come with simplified bureaucracy for talent worldwide, and will look to boost fintech, as well as general technology operations.

The new visa will encourage entrepreneurialism, investment and growth with the UK’s tech companies, by giving them global access to people with the right skills who have spent time with ambitious, rapid growth businesses from around the world and can bring this experience into the UK tech sector.

Future Fund: Breakthrough

Building on the government’s Future Fund, a further £375 million has been committed to introduce Future Fund: Breakthrough, a direct co-investment product to support the scale up of the most innovative, R&D intensive businesses. 

The British Bank will take equity in funding rounds of over £20 million led by private investors to ensure these companies can access the capital they need to grow and bring innovation and prosperity to UK communities.

Super Deduction tax policy:

The new tax relief scheme aims to encourage investment across the UK and boost the British economy’s recovery. The scheme will be launched on 1 April and will run until March 31, 2023. Companies investing in qualifying new plant and machinery assets will be able to claim a 130 percent super-deduction capital allowance and a 50 percent first-year allowance for qualifying special rate assets.

The super-deduction will enable firms to cut their tax bill by up to 25 percent for every £1 they invest. There is no doubt that the future of the UK’s economic recovery is going to be heavily reliant on digital technologies and the ability SMEs must innovate, grow, invest and recruit.

Further information will be released over the coming weeks and months, so don’t forget to subscribe to the Digital Somerset community for updates. This is just a bite sized snap shot from the Spring Budget and we highly recommend reading the full report. It may not be a short read, but it is certainly an informative one.