Digital secretary Nicky Morgan has talked up the performance of the UK tech sector, claiming that the amount of foreign investment attracted by British firms so far this year has already exceeded the whole of 2018.
In a article written for publication in The Telegraph, Morgan said that, during 2019’s first seven months, $6.7bn was invested by overseas parties in UK technology businesses. Half of this amount – which is already more than the foreign investment tally for the whole of last year – came from backers in the US and Asia, Morgan said.
“As we leave the EU and expand our trading relations around the globe, the growing interest from two of the world’s biggest and most important technology markets is one more reason we should be optimistic about our future,” she added.
By the end of 2019, the digital secretary expects $11bn to have been put into the UK digital and IT companies. The “digital economy” now represents a workforce of 2.1 million people, she said, which is more than the 1.3 million people employed in the hospitality sector, and 1.2 million who work in financial.
Government will do its part to support the tech sector, Morgan said. She pointed to the development of a new £84m centre focused on computing education in schools, and to prime minister Boris Johnson’s recent announcement that he was lifting the cap on visas for highly-skilled technologists.
“The UK technology sector is a huge success story and its products have an incredible power to improve people’s lives,” Morgan said. “Companies in the sector are spreading wealth and prosperity by creating high-paying, high-skilled technical jobs alongside new opportunities in non-technical roles. In Belfast, for example, tech vacancies now account for almost one in four of total job vacancies. There are fantastic opportunities in cities with strong sectors such as Glasgow and Leeds.”