In March, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, presented his Spring Statement to Parliament — the last series of economic forecasts and budget allocation announcements before the election later this year.

At Made By Giants, we pulled together considerations for the tech sector and implications for tech PRs this year 👇

1: Building a tech-powered public sector to combat the productivity problem

The Chancellor announced plans to maintain existing public spending levels, but introduced a new public spending productivity plan focused on innovative technology and productivity. The plan includes fully funding the NHS productivity plan with an additional £2.5 billion, and changing how the Treasury reviews spending decisions to facilitate investments in projects improving public service productivity.

Implications for tech PR 👉 In mapping out the public sector productivity plan, the spotlight is squarely on seizing the advantages presented by cutting-edge technologies like AI. The UK tech sector is now at the forefront of the effort to revolutionise public services, healthcare, policing and education. The opportunity for tech firms? Showing real, practical examples of how their solutions can achieve that – without dwelling on hype.

Even if the Labour party wins the next general election, it is reasonable to assume they are seeding their reformist agenda across many areas of the public sector.

So public sector reform and efficiency will remain in the spotlight going into 2025. It’s time to start now by owning that conversation.

2: Bridging the skills gap through investment and regional clusters

By stating that the UK was paving its way to becoming its own “Silicon Valley” for tech development, Hunt stressed that the government is committed to retaining skilled tech workers and keeping fast-growing tech firms in the UK. The announcement of a £7.4 million AI upskilling fund pilot recognises the tech skills gap challenge across the country. While well-intentioned, it’s only a small fraction of what is needed to stop high-growth UK companies from listing in countries like the US.

The Chancellor also announced investments in tech clusters across the UK, including the SaxaVord Spaceport in Scotland, financing for new homes and a health tech cluster in Canary Wharf, and a long-term funding settlement for the development of Cambridge. Why is this important? Through clusters, skills are grouped and collaboration is encouraged in wider areas.

Implications for tech PR 👉 The budget allocates funding and infrastructure support to technology clusters outside major cities, aiming to stimulate innovation and economic growth. With the government incentivising technology outside London, regional PR professionals should make a point of how they are hooking into these investments to support their wider ecosystems, while also being pragmatic about where the barriers are.

And, as investments into AI training are prioritised, tech brands should clearly articulate how they are taking positive steps to address the skills shortage, but also state where more needs to be done in AI proficiency.

Is UK tech growth on the horizon?

The Spring Budget was not groundbreaking for the tech sector, but the announcements were broadly welcomed by the tech community. Jeremy Hunt’s Spring Statement signals that the UK will support tech growth, but it only touches the edges of what is required and what is in front of us.

The media will need to retain a critical position for the realities we face, as well as any indications of genuine progress. Journalists will pick up on stories from tech companies that demonstrate practical solutions to the productivity puzzle, while addressing ideas for long-term AI implementation and AI skills infrastructure. Tech PRs should be poised to tell these stories.

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