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What does the Spring Budget mean for the technology sector?

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In a pre-election Budget, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt promised Public Sector productivity gains from improvements in technology use and declared that the UK is well on its way to becoming the next Silicon Valley. Separately, he announced that the UK would be second only to Hollywood in terms of film production—bold claims indeed.


The Chancellor earmarked £3.4 billion to fully support the NHS productivity plan with a primary emphasis on digital transformation.

The NHS initiatives encompass an augmented use of AI for expedited cancer diagnosis, an enhanced app enabling patients to confirm and modify appointments, and a comprehensive plan for universal adoption of electronic patient records across all hospitals. 

The Chancellor said that by employing AI, the time spent on form filling by doctors would be reduced by half, and the digitisation of operating theatre processes would empower the same number of consultants to perform an additional 200,000 operations annually.

Investment Zones

The Chancellor expanded funding for six tech-focused Investment Zones, particularly targeting Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire, Liverpool City Region, the North East, and the West Midlands. Investments will support advanced manufacturing, life science facilities, electric vehicle manufacturing, battery production, offshore wind technology, low-carbon materials, and sustainable construction technologies. Tax incentives will be provided to incentivise collaboration between businesses and universities, and to secure investment in a battery “gigafactory” in Coventry.

South Yorkshire will drive investment and support the scaling up of businesses in the advanced manufacturing sector, building on the region’s established strengths and significant existing business base. 

Close to £50 million of funding will deliver a flexible and responsive Capital, Infrastructure, and Feasibility Fund to overcome viability gaps, accelerate the development of strategically important sites between Sheffield and Rotherham, and unlock investment opportunities on sites across Doncaster and Barnsley. 

This will include £10 million earmarked for two Co-Investment Funds to fund early-stage and scaling businesses. Additional funding for infrastructure and research and innovation activities will unlock laboratory and spin-out space in Sheffield city centre. This will be complemented by wider business support activities to support the adoption of innovation and expand the benefits of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District, and investment at Gateway East to accelerate development of the site and enable large manufacturing opportunities focused on decarbonising industries. 

Together, local partners expect these proposals to create more than 8,000 jobs and leverage over £1.2 billion investment over the next ten years.


Ahead of the Spring Budget this week, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced a significant investment package in the UK’s life sciences and manufacturing sectors as part of the Government’s plan to grow the economy, boost health resilience and support jobs across the UK.

The Chancellor revealed a £360 million funding package, consisting of contributions from both the state and industry, dedicated to boosting British R&D and manufacturing: 

  • £92 million joint government and industry investment to expand facilities to manufacture life-saving medicines and diagnostics products.
  • £200 million joint investment in zero-carbon aircraft technology to develop a more sustainable aviation sector.
  • £73 million in automotive technology, in particular around electric vehicle development.

While no structural reforms or increases in claimable amounts were mentioned for the R&D tax credit scheme, HMRC committed to enhancing its functionality by proposing to establish an “expert advisory panel”. 

The Treasury says that the panel will provide insights into the cutting-edge R&D activities occurring across key sectors such as tech and life sciences, and work with HMRC to review relevant guidance, ensuring it remains current and provides clarity to claimants. A date has yet to be provided for when this panel will be in place, and there is no further explanation as to who might be included on the panel.

Pension fund investment

In a move to channel pension funds towards UK start-ups and high-growth companies, the Chancellor introduced measures building on last year’s Mansion House reforms. Pension funds will now be required to disclose their investments in UK businesses versus overseas, and poor-performing schemes won’t be allowed to take on new business. The announcement also included a “British ISA,” allowing a £5,000 annual investment allowance to encourage retail investment in UK companies.

University spinouts

Universities will need to report on their spinout policies by the end of May, following recommendations from a Treasury-commissioned report. The Government is also consulting on a £20 million proof-of-concept fund to establish shared approaches among universities for commercialising innovation.

Artificial Intelligence

AI funding in the UK continues, with a £100 million package for the Alan Turing Institute over the next five years. An additional £7.4 million AI upskilling fund for SMEs was announced, along with plans to outline expanded computer power access for researchers and tech companies. AI features prominently in the Chancellor’s strategy to improve public services, aiming for increased efficiency in the NHS and Public Sector Fraud Authority through AI technology.


One of the more interesting measures announced was using drones as first responders. The Chancellor pledged £230 million for new technology in this area including increased use of video calls to report crime and drones.


There were lots of references to technology but this might be an example of ‘trickle-down’ economics in action. Unless you are operating in one of the specific fields then it might be difficult to see any benefit from these announcements. 

To find out more or discuss your individual tax needs, please contact a member of the Tax team on 0333 123 7171.

Read more about the Spring Budget 2024 here