Government aid brings tech jobs to Yorkshire

Financial incentives from the Department of Trade and Industry have persuaded an American software firm to set up shop in sunny Sheffield

The UK's struggling hi-tech job sector received a boost on Wednesday with the news that financial incentives offered by the Government have persuaded a US software company to open offices in Yorkshire.

US-based Insight Direct has chosen the Yorkshire town to be the site of its European HQ. As a result, around 1,700 new hi-tech jobs will be created in the region by 2007. This good news comes at a time when technology workers across the UK are fearing for their futures as the tech slump continues.

According to the Department of Trade and Industry, Government assistance played a big part in the decision to choose the UK, rather than another European country. Insight received a £15m "Regional Selective Assistance" grant, in return for deciding to build its £67m HQ in Sheffield.

Insight Direct creates and sells software packages to improve business efficiency. Its ServiceWorks 2000 package, which is aimed at start-ups and established companies, claims to handle customer and employee information as well as scheduling and billing.

Secretary of State of the DTI, and former e-commerce minister, Patricia Hewitt claimed that such success stories showed that the Government was capable of working with the business community. "By encouraging enterprise we can boost UK business and productivity and create confident, self-reliant and enterprising regional economies to ensure that the UK is one of the best places in the world to do business," Hewitt said in a statement.

According to DTI figures, Government aid attracted a total of £3.4bn investment in the UK in the last 12 months, creating 40,000 new jobs and safeguarding another 20,000. This was achieved by awarding 572 "Regional Selective Assistance" grants totalling £408m.

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