“It was encouraging to hear Philip Hammond emphasising the importance of technology and of fast mobile and fixed line broadband to the economy. Our clients in the middle market continue to invest in digital and cloud technologies to support their expansion – particularly internationally – and we have seen little sign of this changing after the Brexit referendum. It was therefore positive to hear the Chancellor’s plans to create a National Productivity Investment Fund of £23bn intended for technology-driven innovation over the next five years. This will be of particular interest to firms in the manufacturing and hi-tech sectors, where we see particular opportunities for the application of digital and cloud technologies to improve operating efficiency and support job-creating expansion plans.
Investment in trials of 5G mobile networks and supporting private sector roll-out of fibre broadband is also to be welcomed. Surprisingly, poor internet connectivity continues to stifle business creation and growth in some parts of the country particularly away from the main motorway corridors. With most businesses now at least partly reliant on the internet for sales, customer service and supply chain management this is crucial to Britain’s future as an economy that attracts and encourages entrepreneurs.
RSM believes that investment in cloud technology is a key way in which UK mid-market businesses can reach new markets and streamline their operations. The Chancellor’s announcements with regard to broadband and 5G will encourage firms to invest in cloud computing platforms and also to develop the skills that the wider UK economy needs to continue to innovate in this area. The UK already has one of the highest proportions of economic transactions conducted via the internet of any world economy, and this Autumn Statement was clearly intended to encourage this trend.”