Budget 2017: Government to give £500m boost to robotics and tech

Chancellor Philip Hammond has revealed plans to invest £500m to boost science and innovation with support for electric vehicles, robotics and artificial intelligence.

During his Spring Budget speech today, Hammond has promised £270m “to keep the UK at the forefront of disruptive technologies like biotech, robotic systems and driverless vehicles”.

Plans also include a £16m funding for a new 5G mobile technology hub and £200m for local projects to leverage private sector investment in full-fibre broadband networks.

Dominic Keen, the founder of Britbots, a network of UK-based robotics start-ups, welcomes Hammond’s the announcement.

He says: “Some of the great robotics companies of the future are being launched by British entrepreneurs and the support announced in today’s budget will strengthen their impact and global competitiveness. We’re currently seeing strong appetite from private investors to back locally-grown robotics businesses and this money will help bring even more interest in this space.”

The Chancellor has also confirmed the Government’s £23bn additional infrastructure and innovation investment that was announced in the Autumn Statement last year.

There will be £90m for the North and £23m for the Midlands from a £220m fund which addresses pinch-points on the national road network.

The Chancellor has also launched a £690m competition for local authorities across England “to tackle urban congestion and get local transport networks moving again”.

Cerno Capital managing partner James Spence says the news on infrastructure investment from the Chancellor is “reassuring”.

He says: “Infrastructure is an uncontroversial way to bolster growth and failure to feature it would have been an oversight. There is a high demand for infrastructural investment from professional investors and end investors alike. It is positive that Phillip Hammond and the Treasury have presented new ideas on projects and funding for new technologies and transport but we had hoped for more.”