After the shock results of the General Election last week – with Theresa May gaining far fewer seats for the Conservative Party than she hoped for, and the Labour Party making impressive gains – we take a look at the reactions of the UK tech sector.
After a challenging period in the wake of last year’s Brexit vote, it now seems as though the sector will have to face even more uncertainty. Tech City News have spoken to a number of UK tech professionals on how they feel post-election.
“Although there’s an inevitable sense of uncertainty following the confirmation of a hung parliament, I hope for the speedy formation of new government,” said Tim Mills, investment director at the Angel CoFund.
“In the investment community where we are trying to build the future economy, we must continue to back bold high-growth investments that will help cement the UK’s position as a powerhouse of technology and innovation,” the investor said.
Hard vs Soft Brexit
Some welcomed the results as a public vote against a so called ‘hard brexit’.
Rachel Carrell, CEO of Koru Kids, a childcare tech firm, said: “For the UK tech sector, Brexit remains the biggest risk, and the harder the Brexit, the worse the outcome particularly in terms of access to tech talent and ability to trade with Europe. While the exact outcome of the election is not yet clear, what is clear is that a hard Brexit is less likely today than a week ago. The hard Tory Brexiteers did not get the mandate they were looking for. That’s a positive.”
Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates and Global Tech Advocates, discussed the need for greater stability.
“Fast-growth tech companies desperately need a political and economic landscape that allows them to attract investment and talent. Tech entrepreneurs will be dismayed by an election result that only delivers further market uncertainty and doubt.”
“Our message to government remains the same. Give tech companies access to world-class talent, maintain close relationships with international partners and facilitate the conditions for growth. Debating a minority government does not achieve that,” he concluded.”
Kim Nilsson, co-founder of data science hub Pivigo, was concerned about the increased controls on skilled immigration in the Conservative manifesto.
“I was concerned by what I considered to be a highly damaging policy in the Conservative manifesto to double the existing immigration skills charge to £2K for every non-EU worker hired.
“I hope this result means that this hard line will be abandoned, as this policy would have undoubtedly flown in the face of encouraging diversity in the workplace, and the important task of bringing vital talent into UK companies,” she added.
Quotes were taken from Tech City News.