Mayor backs government digital support for West Midlands - The Solihull Observer

Mayor backs government digital support for West Midlands

Solihull Editorial 20th Nov, 2017   0

THE WEST Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, has backed a series of proposals that will boost innovation and technology industries in the region.

The announcement, made on November 15,  by the prime minister Theresa May and chancellor Phillip Hammond includes the creation of a new technology hub in Birmingham.

The changes will increase the number of ‘tech visas’ available to West Midlands businesses and introduce a £2 million pilot scheme to provide high-speed broadband in Coventry and Warwickshire.

The government announced plans to double to 2,000 the number of visas available to the leading talent from around the world, including in digital technology.

These have been part of negotiations between the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and the government ahead of the mid-term budget.

In addition, a number of national measures have been announced.

A new investment of £21 million was declared to expand Tech City UK into a nationwide network called Tech Nation.

This expansion is to accelerate the growth of the digital tech sector across the country.

A £20 million fund has been pledged to help public services take advantage of UK expertise in innovative technologies.

And the government wants to roll out a programme of support to help young people stay safe online.

The Mayor, Andy Street, said: “Traditionally, we talked about digital and technology as a standalone sector within the economy.

“Now, it’s the golden thread which runs through all of our sectors, from manufacturing to life sciences.

“This is how our region will lead the world in the development of connected and autonomous vehicles, changing the way people connect and at the same time combating both congestion and air pollution

“This is how we will cement our position as a global centre for life-saving transitional medicine trials.

“These and other emerging industries – and indeed industries we don’t even know about yet – will provide the jobs of the future in the West Midlands.

“In terms of the national measures, I am really excited about the Tech Nation funding which will see a hub created in Birmingham with the expectation that in the UK some 40,000 entrepreneurs and 4,000 start-ups will be supported, and the £20m fund to help public services take advantage of UK expertise links to the WMCA’s”.

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