TechUK Report: Brexit Could Prove Problematic for British Tech Industry
A new report from TechUK highlights a spate of policy areas where it says the British government must give guidance to protect the digital sector from the worst of the Brexit.
A major British technology group has a warning for its members: Brexit could prove a huge problem for the industry if it goes the wrong way.
A new report from TechUK, with the help of Frontier Economics, makes the case that, even though the technology sector is strong, it is not immune to the challenges of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union.
The report, says the technology trade group, highlights a trio of places [PDF] where the technology sector could struggle if the Brexit doesn’t go smoothly:
Market access: The report says the goods and services that the industry creates and builds from could face new challenges if new export rules take hold. “Brexit puts these value chains at risk by disrupting linkages between the digital sector and their suppliers and customers in the EU,” the report states.
The talent crunch: With British companies reliant on high-skilled labor to produce their products, a major concern for tech companies in the U.K. is that the Brexit could hurt the talent pipeline of migrants. Approximately 552,600 foreign-born workers worked in the tech sector in 2015—a third of whom are from the EU.
Data challenges: The final concern regards the free flow of data past borders, something the group claims helps boost both productivity and income. The report suggests that the Brexit could create “a regulatory fragmentation of information and communication links between the U.K. and Europe—its largest trading partner for data flows.”
The association released the report with a detailed priority list [PDF] it had for the Brexit, highlighting issues including collaboration with the digital sector, regulatory certainty, and legal processes for data transfers.
In a news release, TechUK President Jacqueline de Rojas said that the report was intended to make it clear to both members and regulators that action is necessary to protect the tech sector—which it pegs as being responsible for 24 percent of the U.K.’s total exports, along with more than 3 million jobs.
“There is no sector more dynamic, more innovative, more resilient than tech, but that doesn’t make it immune to Brexit,” she stated. “As this report makes clear, there are real risks that need to be understood and addressed. The U.K.’s thriving tech sector can come through this process and go on to power the vision of Global Britain.”