Intellect: Britain’s technology sector in mixed health

The British technology industry is in “mixed health”, according to trade association Intellect.

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Overall, technology offered support for fundamental changes in defence, communications convergence, and green technology, Intellect’s report stated. It also offered vast improvements in public sector efficiency.

John Higgins, director general of Intellect, said the pressures of the recession would bring out the most innovative ideas.

He added: “The technology sector suffered widely in the downturn at the beginning of the millennium. In many cases this has meant companies are lean and well-founded going forward this current recession.”

Praising the diversity and resilience of Britain’s technology compainies, he said their customers also increasingly understood the importance of IT in both the bad times and the good times.

The British technology industry employs over a million people, and contributes over 10 percent of GDP.

But Higgins sent out a warning signal that the government's promises on next generation broadband were still too little, too late, risking the good of the entire industry.

The areas of the industry with better prospects “are at risk of being constrained unless a fit for purpose digital infrastructure is brought forward”, he said. “Above all else, next generation broadband is a platform for innovation and the creation of new business models leading to the jobs of the future.”

Higgins reiterated the results of a recent report, conducted alongside the LSE, which concluded that a £15 billion government investment in the UK’s digital infrastructure would create 700,000 jobs across the economy.

And while the government has signalled plans to support innovation through a £750 million boost to the Strategic Investment Fund, “it is the innovative tech start-ups who are perishing in the cold climate due to a lack of venture financing who require immediate help”, he said.

“These seedlings, unable to survive without support, could be the Googles of the future.”

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