More needs to be done to boost innovation & digitalisation as ways to return to growth

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The Chancellor recently finished presenting his Summer Statement, outlining a further package of measures aiming to boost the economic recovery from COVID-19 with tax cuts and multi-billion investment schemes. The measures announced today were positioned by Government as “phase two” of the economic recovery, having a specific focus on protecting employment and boosting job creation. The Chancellor says there will be a “phase 3” focused on rebuilding the economy more comprehensively, which will likely come through a full budget statement in the Autumn.

Sabby Gill, MD of Sage UKI, explained to IT Supply Chain why he believes that more needs to be done to boost innovation and digitalisation as ways to return to growth :

“The Chancellor has made for a strong summer of ‘bricks and burgers’ but the absence of a great digital led growth agenda was a missed opportunity to accelerate a plan for all seasons.

“The Government has failed to grasp the inspiring power of opportunity – without a strong package of measures to stimulate entrepreneurship, such as incentives for digital investment, British SMEs stand exposed to future crises and a potential second wave despite the bold steps they are taking to fight back. We need resilient and innovative SMEs to drive global trade and promote growth in the long term.

“SMEs require urgent action and cannot wait until the Autumn Statement, when many are fighting for survival at this moment. We hope to see more on the following measures in the coming weeks to get the economy back to full health as quickly as possible:

“Firstly, with Brexit looming many SMEs want to increase their revenues from trade and reach new markets.  The Government must urgently start to prepare SMEs for Brexit with simple steps they need to take, it should extend the new Export Academy for tech sectors to other sectors with propensity to export more and should fund regional export strategies.

“Secondly, we are encouraged by the ‘Plan for Jobs’ announced today which may go some way to temper the growing furlough ‘bubble’, with as many as 9.3m jobs at risk once the scheme comes to an end in October.  However, the Government must find other routes to create jobs, for example by encouraging entrepreneurialism and equipping the unemployed with essential business skills to get a business up and running by the apprenticeship levy.

“Lastly, businesses’ moves to recovery depends on access to the technology that will underpin a successful recovery.  Immediate support to invest in technology will improve productivity and create jobs in the long term. There are a number of ways Government could do this. For example offering businesses digital vouchers or grants, linking loan repayment relief on CBILS and Bounce Back Loans to technology investment or allowing them to claim a reduction against their tax bill of 200% of the value of the investment.”