Chancellor pledges to make UK a 'technology centre'

Chancellor George Osborne has announced taxation plans designed to boost UK technology and start-ups."Today we...

Chancellor George Osborne has announced taxation plans designed to boost UK technology and start-ups.

"Today we... set Britain this industrial ambition: that we turn Britain into Europe's technology centre," Osborne announced in his Budget speech to parliament on Wednesday.

The UK gaming industry, which some estimates put at being worth £2.875bn in 2010, will be given the same kind of tax perks as the film industry, said Osborne.

"The film tax credit, protected in our spending review, helped generate over £1bn of film production investment in the UK in the last year alone," said Osborne. "Today I am announcing our intention to introduce similar schemes for the video games, animation and high end TV production industries."

Osborne added that "it is the determined policy of this government to keep Wallace and Gromit exactly where they are."

Start-ups spun out of universities will get tax breaks in the form of being able to award more tax-advantaged share options. The HMRC Enterprise Management Incentive scheme will see the grant for tax breaks on share options given to leading employees doubled.

It is the determined policy of this government to keep Wallace and Gromit exactly where they are.

– George Osborne

"We will help new start up businesses recruit and retain talent — by more than doubling the Enterprise Management Incentive Scheme grant limit to £250,000, and easing the rules so that academics in our universities can turn great ideas into great companies," said Osborne.

Research and development (R&D) will get tax relief through capital gains changes. There will be an 'above the line' R&D credit — a credit against the company’s corporation tax bill, rather than the current system of an enhanced deduction or 'superdeduction'.

"I confirm that from next year we will also introduce an 'above the line' R&D tax credit that business organisations like the EEF, IOD and CBI have campaigned hard for," said Osborne.

Technology infrastructure also got a fillip — broadband infrastructure got £50m for smaller cities. In addition, Osborne announced the full list of 10 'super-connected' cities that would get to share £100m for broadband investment: Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and London.

In addition, the government pledged better mobile reception on and around rural roads.