IT bodies have given a cautious welcome to the few concessions given to their industry in yesterday’s Budget.
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But they also called for much more detail on the announcements, some of which they said marked fundamental change.
One element of the Budget was aimed at driving the adoption of shared services, by establishing centres with commercial organisations.
Mark Kobayashi Hillary, offshoring director at the National Outsourcing Association said the move presented major opportunities to outsourcers. But he added that he was disappointed that more detail was not yet apparent.
“How come such an important measure as this has not been mentioned anywhere else?” he said in exasperation.
“If the government is about to move to large scale shared service centres in partnership with private sector firms then we are about to witness a massive wave of outsourcing on a scale that has never been seen before by the public sector.”
Sureyya Cansoy, associate director at trade body Intellect, said she welcomed the move towards shared services, but noted that so far “the UK public sector has been slow to adopt them”.
The announcement of 20,000 new university places in science, technology, engineering and mathematics was broadly welcomed by the industry, with Intellect adding that it demonstrated the government “recognises the value” of the industry.
Karen Price, chief executive at sector skills council e-skills, said the growth of IT and telecoms industries “relies on a constant stream of talented new recruits”.
But she added that there still needed to be more specific detail: "Technology employers are hoping that [the increased university places] will include explicit focus on Information Technology and Computing as well as maths and other sciences."
The move to roll out broadband to most of the country was seen as an important step forward . But industry figures questioned the need for a 50 pence tax on phone lines, aimed at helping fund the move, which will be introduced on 1 October.
"Any form of tax on the access network does not serve the aims of Digital Britain, in our belief,” said David Harrington, head of regulatory affairs at the Communications Managers Association (CMA), part of the BCS.
He added that the landline tax would only provide a return on investment for a "limited number of very specific projects”. The government needed to create a “clear investment framework”, he said, if it really wanted to stimulate the “economic platform” to grow internet based businesses ahead of global competition.
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