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UK Tech Sector Calls on Govt to Clarify Brexit Plans
Source: https://www.telecompaper.com/
Source Date: Thursday, December 08, 2016
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government
Created: Dec 13, 2016

The UK’s tech sector has sent an open letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, saying that the ongoing confusion around how Brexit will be performed is putting at risk London’s position as a leading destination for tech start-ups, Reuters reported. The letter, signed by nine leading UK-based technology entrepreneurs and investors including Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom, called on the government to ensure a continued flow of skilled migrants after the UK leaves the European Union. It also called on the government to address EU market access and other issues. The letter asks the government to campaign for access to the European Union's digital single market and to ensure a simple and competitive framework for companies, labor, tax, stock options and bankruptcy protection.

"The No. 1 concern for entrepreneurs post-Brexit is access to talent, in particular technical talent…Quotas on specific skills could severely limit the ability of new tech companies to grow," the entrepreneurs said in the letter.

The letter, dated 6 December, was timed to coincide with the annual TechCrunch Disrupt London conference for start-ups and investors. Signatories also included Balderton Capital partner Bernard Liautaud, the now London-based founder of French software firm Business Objects, as well as Brent Hoberman of Founders Forum and Sonali De Rycker, partner at Accel Partners.

Paris and Berlin are vying to displace London's lead in the European start-up scene, while other cities including Dublin, Amsterdam and Frankfurt are also promoting themselves as alternative tech hubs in the face of Brexit uncertainties. In fintech, a sector where London ranks as a global leader, funding for UK firms has slowed since Britain's vote in June to leave the EU. Germany's rival fintech scene has captured 35 percent more venture capital funding than Britain in the last two quarters, according to a report by KMPG and CBInsights.

So far, the UK government has put forward a number of initiatives to support the tech sector, such as providing funding for more fibre-optic broadband and committing to boost investment through the British Business Bank to replace potentially lost EU funding. There are also plans by Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple to build new offices in London and hire thousands more staff as a measure of confidence in the UK market. But the government has so far avoided making commitments to ensure a continued flow of technically skilled migrants into the UK.

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