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Chancellor Hunt champions UK tech industry at Davos forum
Tue, 23rd Jan 2024

UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has underscored his faith in British technology on the world stage, invoking a need for increased investment in the UK's tech industry during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos. Despite the atmosphere of worldwide economic uncertainty, Hunt expressed a buoyant outlook for the UK's economic growth and productivity, citing the tech industry as the engine that will "drive growth across the UK economy in years to come."

As part of the 'Technology in a Turbulent World' panel, Hunt joined global tech leaders in discussions centred on pivotal developments within the industry, such as AI, investment and the future of UK tech. Beyond mere discussions, however, he emphasised the necessity to make conscious choices, particularly regarding AI technologies. Hunt expressed concern, underlining the necessity to "harness it so it is a force for good".

The UK government's approach to AI regulation was aired, with Hunt suggesting a 'light touch' but also recognising the requirement for some form of "guard-rails" to ensure proper boundaries. This comes on the back of the UK government launching a consultation about implementing a 'pro-innovation' approach to AI regulation.

Sachin Agrawal, UK Managing Director at Zoho UK, commended Hunt's stand, stating, "Investment in UK technology is vital to support innovative businesses that are the backbone of the economy. The UK has an ambitious plan to be a technology superpower, and it's reassuring to see the Chancellor backing that conviction".

He went on to highlight the benefits of increased funding for tech enterprises that would enable them to further research and development projects for emerging technologies. Agrawal indicated that these developments "could help to place the UK as a global hub for technology advancements".

Referencing a Zoho Digital Health study that revealed 67% of UK respondents are either already utilising AI or planning significant investment in it, Agrawal underscored the importance of equal focus on innovation in other core tech areas, such as software development, data privacy and cloud technology. According to Agrawal, the current climate of "economic turbulence makes it even more critical for businesses to invest in technology and continue to innovate to fuel growth".

In support of the Chancellor's viewpoints, Khalid Talukder, Co-Founder of DKK Partners, added his voice, articulating the prime positioning of the UK to spearhead worldwide innovation endeavours. Talukder observed, "The UK is in a prime position to lead global innovation efforts and it's good to see the Chancellor banging the investment drum to cement the UK as an attractive destination for technology investment."

"The tech and FinTech sectors are driving forces for economic growth, fuelled by overseas investment and international trade from forward-thinking businesses. Further investment in areas such as payments can support these businesses to continue technology innovation as they connect the UK to emerging markets and open up new avenues for the UK to do business."