Chancellor unveils a Budget for growth

  • Childcare revolution to expand 30 hours free childcare for children over the age of nine months, alongside boosts to subsidised childcare for parents on Universal Credit including upfront support.
  • A £27 billion tax cut for business through radical ‘full expensing’ policy and capital allowances reform which will drive investment and growth.
  • Measures to ease cost-of-living burden will help more than halve inflation, with extension of Energy Price Guarantee and duties on fuel and a pub pint both frozen.
  • Major set of reforms to support people into work, removing barriers that stop those on benefits, older workers, and those with health conditions who want to work from working.
  • Inflation falling, debt down and growth up in Chancellor’s Spring Budget for Growth that delivers upon the Prime Minister’s economic priorities.

Aimed at achieving long-term, sustainable economic growth that delivers prosperity for the people of the United Kingdom, the Spring Budget breaks down barriers to work, unshackles business investment and tackles labour shortages head on.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt said:

“Our plan is working – inflation falling, debt down and a growing economy.

“Britain is on a lasting path to growth with a revolution in childcare support, the biggest ever employment package and the best investment incentives in Europe.”

The Chancellor announced 30 hours of free childcare for every child over the age of 9 months, with support being phased in until every single eligible working parent of under 5s gets this support by September 2025.

The government will also pay the childcare costs of parents on Universal Credit moving into work or increasing their hours upfront, rather than in arrears – removing a major barrier to work for those who are on benefits. The maximum they can claim will also be boosted to £951 for one child and £1,630 for two children – an increase of around 50%.

The Chancellor went on to set out plans to continue to support households with cost-of-living pressures including keeping the Energy Price Guarantee at £2,500 for the next three months and ending the premium that over 4 million households pay on their prepayment meter, bringing their charges into line with comparable customers who pay by direct debit. Taken together with all the government’s efforts to help households with higher costs, these measures bring the total support to an average of £3,300 per UK household over 2022-23 and 2023-24.

To help household budgets further, the planned 11 pence rise in fuel duty will be cancelled, maintaining last year’s 5p cut for another twelve months, saving a typical driver another £100 on top of the £100 saved so far since last year’s cut.

The generosity of Draught Relief has also been significantly extended from 5% to 9.2%, so that the duty on an average draught pint of beer served in a pub both does not increase from August and will be up to 11 pence lower than the duty in supermarkets. The commitment to duty on a pub pint being lower than the supermarket has been termed the “Brexit Pubs Guarantee” by the Chancellor, and this change will also be enjoyed by every pub in Northern Ireland thanks to the Windsor Framework.

The Chancellor also set out a comprehensive plan to remove the barriers to work facing those on benefits, those with health conditions and older workers. An increase in the pensions Annual Allowance from £40,000 to £60,000 and the abolition of the Lifetime Allowance will remove the disincentives to working for longer. A new ‘Returnerships’ skills offer for older workers and more stringent Universal Credit job search requirements also feature in the plan that will boost the UK’s workforce, fill vacancies and support economic growth.

In line with the government’s vision for the UK to be the best place in Europe for companies to locate, invest and grow, a new policy of ‘full expensing’ will be introduced for the next three years to boost business investment in an effective cut to corporation tax of £9 billion per year. This makes the UK the joint most competitive capital allowances regime in the OECD and the only major European economy to have such a policy. The independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast that this will increase business investment by 3% for every year it is in place. Mr Hunt signalled an intention to make this scheme – which covers equipment for factories, computers and other machinery – permanent when responsible to do so.

Accompanying forecasts by the OBR confirm that with the package of measures Mr Hunt set out today, the economy is on track to grow with inflation halved this year and debt falling – meeting all of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s economic priorities. This comes alongside the confirmation that there are no new tax rises within the Spring Budget.


Significant reforms to childcare will remove barriers to work for nearly half a million parents with a child under 3 in England not working due to caring responsibilities, reducing discrimination against women and benefitting the wider economy in the process.

  • 30 hours of free childcare for every child over the age of 9 months with working parents by September 2025, where eligibility will match the existing 3-4 year-old 30 hours offer.
  • This will be introduced in phases, with 15 hours of free childcare for working parents of 2-year-olds coming into effect in April 2024 and 15 hours of free childcare for working parents of 9 months – 3 years old in September 2024.
  • The funding paid to nurseries for the existing free hours offers will also be increased by £204 million from this September rising to £288 million next year.
  • Schools and local authorities will be funded to increase the supply of wraparound care, so that parents of school age children can drop their children off between 8am and 6pm – tackling the barriers to working caused by limited availability of wraparound care.
  • Childcare costs of parents moving into work or increasing their hours on Universal Credit paid upfront rather than in arrears, with maximum claim boosted to £951 for one child and £1,630 for two children – an increase of around 50%.
  • In recognition of both the importance and short supply of childminders, incentive payments of £600 will be piloted from Autumn of this year for those who sign up to the profession (rising to £1,200 for those who join through an agency) to increase the number available and increase choice and affordability for parents.


The Chancellor set out a comprehensive plan to help people move into work, increase their hours, and extend their working lives, including for those on benefits.

  • The Lifetime Allowance charge will be removed before being abolished altogether, removing barriers to remaining in work and simplifying the tax system by taking thousands out of the complexity of pension tax.
  • The Annual Allowance will be increased from £40,000 to £60,000, incentivising highly-skilled workers to remain in the labour market. As a result of the pensions tax measures announced today, an estimated 80% of NHS doctors will not receive a tax charge with respect to accruals under the 2015 NHS career average scheme.
  • A new ‘Returnerships’ apprenticeship targeted at the over 50s will refine existing skills programmes to make them more accessible to older workers, giving them the skills and support they need to find a recognisable path back into work.
  • The midlife MOT offer will be expanded and improved to ensure people get the best possible financial, health and career guidance well ahead of retirement. There will be an enhanced digital midlife MOT tool and an expansion of DWP’s in person midlife MOTs for 50+ Universal Credit claimants, aiming to reach 40,000 per year.
  • A DWP White Paper on disability benefits reform will herald the biggest change to the welfare system in the past ten years, to make sure it better meets the needs of disabled people in Great Britain. This includes removing the Work Capability Assessment, meaning the majority of claimants will now have to do one health assessment rather than two. Reforms will also support claimants to try work without fear of losing their financial support.
  • A new voluntary employment scheme for disabled people and those with health conditions called Universal Support will be funded in England and Wales. The government will spend up to £4,000 per person to find them a suitable role and cater to their needs, supporting 50,000 places per year once fully rolled out.
  • A £406 million plan to tackle the leading health causes keeping people out of work, with investment targeted at services for mental health, musculoskeletal conditions, and cardiovascular disease.
  • Strengthening work search and work preparation requirements for around 700,000 lead carers of children aged 1-12 claiming Universal Credit in Great Britain.
  • Increasing the Administrative Earnings Threshold (AET) – which determines how much support and Work Coach time a claimant will receive based on their earnings – for an individual claimant, from the equivalent of 15 to 18 hours at National Living Wage and removing the couples AET in Great Britain. Over 100,000 non-working or low-earning individuals will be asked to meet more regularly with their Work Coach for support to move into work or increase their earnings.
  • The application and enforcement of the Universal Credit sanctions regime will be strengthened, by providing additional training for Work Coaches to apply sanctions effectively, including for claimants who do not look for or take up employment, and automating administrative elements of the sanctions process to reduce error rates and free up Work Coach time.
  • Elsewhere, international talent will be attracted through a new migration package that includes adding five construction occupations to the Shortage Occupation List and expanding the range of short-term business activities that are covered under the UK’s six-month business visit visa offer.


The Chancellor put forward a plan to boost innovation, drive business investment and hold down energy costs.

  • A ‘full expensing’ policy introduced from 1 April 2023 until 31 March 2026 and an extension to the 50% first-year allowance in the same period – a transformation in capital allowances worth £27 billion to businesses over three years.
  • A £500 million per year package of support for 20,000 research and development (R&D) intensive businesses through changes to R&D tax credits.
  • Generous reforms to tax reliefs for the creative sectors will ensure theatres, orchestras, museums and galleries are protected against ongoing economic pressures and even more world-class productions are made in the UK.
  • The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will receive £10 million extra funding over two years to maximise its use of Brexit freedoms and accelerate patient access to treatments. This will allow, from 2024, the MHRA to introduce new, swift approvals systems, speeding up access to treatments already approved by trusted international partners and ground-breaking technologies such as cancer vaccines and AI therapeutics for mental health.
  • All of the recommendations from Sir Patrick Vallance’s review into pro-innovation regulation of digital technologies, published alongside Spring Budget today, are to be accepted.
  • £900 million of funding for an AI Research Resource and an exascale computer – making the UK one of only a handful of countries to have one – and a commitment to £2.5 billion ten-year quantum research and innovation programme through the government’s new Quantum Strategy.

Levelling Up

To level up growth across the UK and spread opportunity everywhere, local communities will be empowered to command their economic destiny.

  • Greater responsibility for local leaders to grow their local economy.
  • Over £200 million for high quality local regeneration projects in areas of need, from the transformation of Ashington Town Centre to a skills and education campus in Blackburn.
  • Over £400 million for new Levelling Up Partnerships for twenty areas in England most in need of levelling up, such as Rochdale and Mansfield.
  • Business rates retention expanded to more areas in the next Parliament.
  • Delivering trailblazer devolution deals for the West Midlands and Greater Manchester Combined Authorities that include single multi-year settlements for the next Spending Review, alongside a commitment to negotiate further devolution deals in England.
  • 12 Investment Zones across the UK including 4 across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • £8.8 billion over the next five-year funding period for a second round of the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements.

Many of today’s decisions on tax and spending apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. As a result of decisions that do not apply UK-wide, the Scottish Government will receive around an additional £320 million over 2023-24 and 2024-25, the Welsh Government will receive £180 million, and the Northern Ireland Executive will receive £130 million.

Further information:

Link: Chancellor unveils a Budget for growth
Source: Assent Information Services

Multi-million investment to turbocharge growth of technology in legal services

  • £3 million funding to new providers of innovative UK lawtech programme
  • agreement with technology start-up incubator CodeBase, and legal tech community Legal Geek
  • boost for economic growth by building on UK’s £25 billion legal services industry

The news is another boost to the UK’s thriving legal services market which is the second largest in the world, employing more than 300,000 people and worth around £25 billion to the economy.

The government-backed LawtechUK programme plays an important part in this innovation and the new providers announced today (15 March) will continue to set the country apart as a leader in emerging technologies.

CodeBase is one of the country’s largest incubators which has helped hundreds of start-ups grow and scale up. They will work with Legal Geek which runs events and programmes to connect legal businesses and the technology sector.

Together they will showcase the UK as a leading place for lawtech innovation, raising the quality of start-ups and generating industry-level views to shape the country’s lawtech agenda.

They will also build on LawtechUK’s success and further support the work of the UK Jurisdiction Taskforce, an industry-led body which promotes the use of English law alongside digital legal innovations worldwide.

Justice Minister Mike Freer said:

The UK is a world leader in delivering legal services and expertise, and our ongoing investment in new technologies will make sure we are continuing to lead the way in advances and new ways of working

CodeBase and Legal Geek bring a wealth of experience and knowledge of LawtechUK that will nurture new, cutting-edge innovation in the UK.

Stephen Coleman, OBE, CEO of CodeBase, said:

Together with our delivery partners Legal Geek, who are renowned for delivering top-tier legal events, we are eager to push the boundaries of innovation and transformation in the legal industry.

We truly believe that LawtechUK will have a significant impact on the future of the legal sector, and we feel privileged to be leading the charge in this endeavour.

Beth Fellner, Legal Geek Director, said:

We will be working in partnership with CodeBase to deliver a transformational programme of activity that will engage, inspire and educate.

Legal Geek will ensure LawtechUK develops the legal sector nationwide, equipping organisations of all sizes with the culture, expertise and confidence to innovate.

LawtechUK is a government-backed initiative, launched in 2019 when Tech Nation, a leading scale-up network and growth platform for tech companies, was tasked with incubating LawtechUK and driving its objectives forward with an initial £2 million investment. It provides resources, programmes and courses to promote new ways of delivering and accessing legal services.

LawtechUK success stories include the Lawtech Sandbox – a programme helping UK founders and legal businesses develop new products including the development of software to help businesses detect risks of potential legal disputes with stakeholders.

CodeBase and Legal Geek were awarded funding following a competition process, and will take over from Tech Nation, the firm which has delivered LawtechUK for the past 3 years. They will take over LawtechUK from 1 April 2023.

The LawtechUK programme will continue to be supported by the expert LawtechUK Panel.

Notes to editors


CodeBase is a tech ecosystem support organisation that has supported over 500 startups and scaleups, who have collectively raised over £4 billion. Codebase is committed to promoting collaboration in tech innovation, across startups, scaleups, corporates, governments, academia and the third sector. Home to a thriving community of entrepreneurs and innovators, CodeBase provides space for startups to grow, delivers expert educational programmes and industry accelerators, and fosters connections through bridge programmes, events, meetups, and mentorship matching.

Legal Geek is a global community of legal professionals and lawtech enthusiasts dedicated to promoting innovation and technology in the legal industry. Founded in 2015, Legal Geek has quickly grown to become one of the world’s largest lawtech communities, with events and initiatives held across the globe. The company’s flagship event, the Legal Geek Conference, brings together 2500 legal professionals and lawtech startups from 66 countries for a day of networking, learning, and collaboration.

Link: Multi-million investment to turbocharge growth of technology in legal services
Source: Assent Information Services

New UK-France partnership to bring ‘more energy security and independence’

  • New blueprint for UK-France energy cooperation promotes regional and global energy security, as well as delivering secure, green, affordable energy for both countries
  • agreement bolsters nuclear cooperation, including on new nuclear and reducing reliance on civil nuclear goods from Russia
  • both also commit to tackle barriers to deploying hydrogen and carbon capture, with agreement also potentially supporting a rise in electricity interconnection by two thirds

A new partnership between the UK and French governments has been signed today (10 March), which will help both nations make the move towards greater energy security by moving away from fossil fuels and towards renewables and nuclear power.

Under a new deal signed today by Energy Security Secretary Grant Shapps and France’s Energy Minister, Agnes Pannier Runacher, the UK and France commit to further cooperation on civil nuclear, to capitalise on both countries ambitions to significantly grow their sectors.

Already, the UK and France have a decades-old partnership on nuclear power. French company EDF are leading the development of Hinkley Point C in Somerset, and following an historic £700 million investment announced by Grant Shapps last November, the UK government is a co-shareholder in the proposed Sizewell C project in Suffolk with EDF. This investment represented the first state-backing of a nuclear project in Britain in over 30 years.

The statement also commits France and the UK to work together, along with other G7 leaders, to take concerted action to cut reliance on civil nuclear and related goods from Russia, including working to diversify their supplies of uranium and nuclear fuel production capability.

The UK currently has 3 interconnectors with a capacity for 4 GW of electricity interconnection with its French partners. Today’s agreement could also have the potential to support an increase in electricity interconnection with France by up to 2 thirds, subject to regulatory approval. Increased interconnection will support the UK’s ambition to have at least 18 GW of interconnection capacity by 2030.

Mr Shapps hopes the agreement will help lower energy bills for consumers, and boost the availability of clean renewable energy between both countries. It will also see both work to tackle barriers to deploying fast-developing low-carbon technologies, including hydrogen and carbon capture and storage (CCUS), helping create tens of thousands of jobs in the UK.

Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary Grant Shapps said:

Successful economies need plentiful and reliable energy. Putin’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine has demonstrated that energy security can only be achieved by working with our international friends.

We are already partnering with France through these energy interconnectors, but we share the ambition to go much further.

Today’s agreement could lead to two thirds boost in our interconnected power bringing more energy security and independence to the United Kingdom and France.

The UK has an ambition of up to 10GW of low-carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030, which could support over 12,000 jobs and unlock over £9 billion in private investment by 2030. Today’s partnership supports this, as France looks to deploy low-carbon hydrogen for their own power system.

France and the UK have also recognised the potential of working together on CCUS. The UK’s North Sea has the potential to store 78 billion tonnes of CO2 on the UK continental shelf, which could be turned into a multi-billion-pound industry, supporting up to 50,000 jobs in 2030.

Notes to editors

  • Read the France-UK Energy Partnership
  • Ofgem estimates the benefits for GB consumers from all electricity interconnector projects to date is more than £20 billion, and analysis by the Carbon Trust found that deploying flexible technologies in the period 2015 – 2050, such as interconnection, could deliver savings of up to £40 billion

Link: New UK-France partnership to bring ‘more energy security and independence’
Source: Assent Information Services

British Businesses to Save Billions Under New UK Version of GDPR

  • Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan introduces Data Protection and Digital Information Bill today

  • New common-sense-led UK version of the EU’s GDPR will reduce costs and burdens for British businesses and charities, remove barriers to international trade and cut the number of repetitive data collection pop-ups online

  • Strengthened data regime will save UK economy more than £4 billion over next 10 years and ensure that privacy and data protection are securely protected

New data laws to cut down pointless paperwork for businesses and reduce annoying cookie pops-up are being introduced by the government today in Parliament.

The Data Protection and Digital Information Bill was first introduced last Summer and paused in September 2022 so ministers could engage in a co-design process with business leaders and data experts – ensuring that the new regime built on the UK’s high standards for data protection and privacy, and seeks to ensure data adequacy while moving away from the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach of European Union’s GDPR.

Data is fundamental to fuelling economic growth in all areas of society from unlocking medical breakthroughs to helping people travel, manage their finances and shop online. It is vital to the development and use of innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence.

Data-driven trade generated 85 per cent of the UK’s total service exports and contributed an estimated £259 billion for the economy in 2021.

The improved bill will:

  • Introduce a simple, clear and business-friendly framework that will not be difficult or costly to implement – taking the best elements of GDPR and providing businesses with more flexibility about how they comply with the new data laws

  • Ensure our new regime maintains data adequacy with the EU, and wider international confidence in the UK’s comprehensive data protection standards

  • Further reduce the amount of paperwork organisations need to complete to demonstrate compliance

  • Support even more international trade without creating extra costs for businesses if they’re already compliant with current data regulation

  • Provide organisations with greater confidence about when they can process personal data without consent

  • Increase public and business confidence in AI technologies by clarifying the circumstances when robust safeguards apply to automated decision-making

Today’s data reforms are expected to unlock £4.7 billion in savings for the UK economy over the next 10 years and maintain the UK’s internationally renowned data protection standards so businesses can continue to trade freely with global partners, including the EU.

Science, Innovation and Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan said:

“Co-designed with business from the start, this new Bill ensures that a vitally important data protection regime is tailored to the UK’s own needs and our customs.

“Our system will be easier to understand, easier to comply with, and take advantage of the many opportunities of post-Brexit Britain. No longer will our businesses and citizens have to tangle themselves around the barrier-based European GDPR.”

“Our new laws release British businesses from unnecessary red tape to unlock new discoveries, drive forward next generation technologies, create jobs and boost our economy.”

Alongside these new changes, the Bill will increase fines for nuisance calls and texts to be either up to four per cent of global turnover or £17.5 million, whichever is greater, and aims to reduce the number of consent pop-ups people see online, which allow websites to collect data about an individual’s visit.

The Bill will also establish a framework for the use of trusted and secure digital verification services, which allow people to prove their identity digitally if they choose to do so. The measures will allow customers to create certified digital identities that make it easier and quicker for people to prove things about themselves.

The Bill will strengthen the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) through the creation of a statutory board with a chair and chief executive, so it can remain a world-leading, independent data regulator and better support organisations to comply with data regulation.

Julian David, TechUK CEO, said:

“TechUK welcomes the new, targeted package of reforms to the UK’s data protection laws, which builds on ambitions to bring organisations clarity and flexibility when using personal data.”

“The changes announced today will give companies greater legal confidence to conduct research, deliver basic business services and develop new technologies such as AI, while retaining levels of data protection in line with the highest global standards, including data adequacy with the EU.”

Chris Combemale, Chair of the DPDI Business Advisory Group and CEO of the Data & Marketing Association (DMA UK), said:

“The DMA has collaborated with the government throughout the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill (DPDI)’s development to champion the best interests of both businesses and their customers. We are confident that the bill should act as a catalyst for innovation and growth, while maintaining robust privacy protections across the UK – an essential balance which will build consumer trust in the digital economy.”

John Edwards, UK Information Commissioner, said:

“I welcome the reintroduction of the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill and support its ambition to enable organisations to grow and innovate whilst maintaining high standards of data protection rights. Data protection law needs to give people confidence to share their information to use the products and services that power our economy and society.

“The Bill will ensure my office can continue to operate as a trusted, fair and independent regulator. We look forward to continuing to work constructively with the Government to monitor how these reforms are expressed in the Bill as it continues its journey through Parliament.”


Ministers have co-designed the Bill with key industry and privacy partners – including Which? and TechUK – on amendments which will give organisations greater flexibility over how they can comply with the regime while maintaining high data protection standards.

Unleashing more scientific research

Current data laws are unclear on how scientists can process personal data for research purposes, which holds them back from completing vital research that can improve the lives of people across the country.

The Bill has updated the definition of scientific research to clarify that commercial organisations will benefit from the same freedoms as academics to carry out innovative scientific research, ​​such as making it easier to reuse data for research purposes. This will reduce paperwork and legal costs for researchers, and will encourage more scientific research in the commercial sector. The definition of scientific research in the new Bill is non-exhaustive, in that it remains any processing that ‘could reasonably be described as scientific’ and could include activities such as innovative research into technological development.

Reducing unnecessary paperwork even further

The existing European version of GDPR takes a highly prescriptive, top-down approach to data protection regulation which can limit organisations’ flexibility to manage risks and places disproportionate burdens on small businesses.

Ministers have improved the Bill to further cut down on the amount of paperwork organisations need to complete to show compliance. Now, only organisations whose processing activities are likely to pose high risks to individual’s rights and freedoms will need to keep processing records. This could include, for example, where organisations are processing large volumes of sensitive data about people’s health.

The new rules will give organisations more clarity about when they can process personal data without needing consent or weighing up their own interests in processing the data against an individual’s rights for certain public interest activities. This could include circumstances where there is a public interest in sharing personal data to prevent crime, safeguard national security or protect vulnerable individuals.

Increasing public and business confidence in AI technologies

Innovative technologies like AI and Quantum computing have the potential to create widespread benefits, such as improving the delivery of healthcare services and reducing the risk of fraud. These technologies often rely on automated decision making, where significant decisions are made about people with no human involvement, or profiling, where an automated process analyses or predicts aspects about a person, such as their abilities or behaviours.

The UK’s existing data protection laws are complex and lack clarity for solely automated decision-making and profiling which makes it difficult for organisations to responsibly use these types of technologies.

The Bill ensures organisations can use automated decision-making with more confidence, and that the right safeguards are in place for people about whom those decisions are taken. This means people will be made aware when such decisions are made and can challenge and seek human review when those decisions may be inaccurate or harmful.

New measures set out today clarify that profiling is subject to the same set of robust safeguards for automated decision making when a significant decision is taken about a person with no meaningful human involvement.

For instance, if a person is denied a job or a loan because an automated decision has been taken without meaningful human input, they can challenge that decision and request a human to review the outcome instead.

As a result of these reforms, businesses, AI developers and individuals will have greater clarity about when these important safeguards for solely automated decision-making must apply. These measures maintain the UK’s high data protection standards and help provide more transparency and accountability for decisions made by computer algorithms.

Supporting international data sharing

The UK is committed to maintaining high data protection standards and continuing the free flow of personal data between like-minded countries, which power services such as GPS navigation, smart home technology and content streaming services.

The updated Bill ensures businesses can continue to use their existing international data transfer mechanisms to share personal data overseas if they are already compliant with current UK data laws. This will ensure British businesses do not need to pay more costs or complete new checks to show they’re compliant with the updated rules.

Link: British Businesses to Save Billions Under New UK Version of GDPR
Source: Assent Information Services

UK and Canada sign agreement to boost green tech supply chains

  • UK and Canada to sign agreement to bolster vital technologies such as smart phones, solar panels and electric vehicles.
  • Agree to work together on critical minerals research and make supply chains more resilient as demand for some minerals expected to rise 500% by 2040.
  • Agreement signed on Minister Nus Ghani’s five-day visit to Canada to meet counterparts and attend the International Mines Ministers Summit and the closing of the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The UK and Canada have agreed a landmark agreement to co-operate on critical minerals such as cobalt and lithium that are essential to the economy and used in almost all modern and green technologies, from solar panels to electric vehicles.

The partnership, to be launched today [Monday 6 March] by Business and Trade Minister Nusrat Ghani MP and Canadian Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson, will help make UK manufacturers of cutting-edge technologies more resilient to global shocks by promoting research and development between UK and Canadian businesses, driving innovation and growth.

The announcement comes on a five-day visit to Canada, during which time Minister Ghani will also meet Canadian government counterparts to discuss critical minerals and attend the International Ministers Mines Summit and the closing of the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Minister for Business and Trade, Nusrat Ghani MP, said:

Every single one of us depend on critical minerals to make the technology we use in our everyday lives. With a dash for minerals to meet national business needs, it is essential we work to build more resilient supply chains for critical minerals.

Through this Dialogue, we will work with one of our closest global allies in Canada to build and strengthen our supply chains and boost innovation, securing jobs and growing the UK economy in the process.

Canadian Minister of Natural Resources, The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, said:

Canada and the United Kingdom share similar goals and values.

By collaborating on the development of the critical mineral supply chains that we need to achieve our net-zero future, we can reinforce global energy security, advance the fight against climate change and ensure significant economic opportunity and support good jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.

Today’s announcement is a step forward toward a sustainable and secure clean energy ecosystem.

Canada is the UK’s 13th largest export partner, with UK companies last year exporting £14.1 billion worth of products to Canada.  Canada represents a large opportunity for UK mining and engineering firms, with the country currently producing 60 minerals and metals at 200 mines and 6,500 quarries.

The Critical Minerals Statement of Intent and Dialogue will be launched by Minister Ghani at the 2023 Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada Convention. They also commit Canada and the UK to high environmental, social and governance standards in critical minerals supply chains.

Demand for certain critical minerals is expected to rise by as much as 500% by 2040, and the Statement and Dialogue are a part of the UK’s Critical Minerals Strategy to secure supply chains for these minerals and therefore the UK’s position in the growing markets for green technologies, such as hydrogen production and nuclear energy. A refreshed approach for delivering the Strategy is due to be published later this year.

Link: UK and Canada sign agreement to boost green tech supply chains
Source: Assent Information Services

Minister of State announces UKG investment for NI’s Cyber Security industry

  • Minister of State announces £18.9 million investment in NI’s Cyber Security industry.
  • New Cyber-AI Hub to help businesses and startups explore new opportunities.
  • NI pipeline of world-class cyber professionals developed with training and bursaries.

The UK Government has announced £18.9 million investment in NI’s Cyber Security industry, including £11 million Government funding through the New Deal for Northern Ireland, to develop a pipeline of cyber security professionals in NI as well helping businesses and startups develop new opportunities.

The investment, announced by Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Steve Baker MP, will see the creation of a new Cyber-AI Hub at the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) in Belfast, creating jobs and supporting the research and development of AI-enabled cyber security projects.

Following the launch, Minister Baker visited NVIDIA, one of the companies benefiting from the close collaboration at CSIT, to learn more about the work being done in their Belfast

R&D centre to enhance the security and performance of NVIDIA’s networking solutions. The company, a global leader in AI, will engage with the new hub on collaborative research into AI-based cyber threat intelligence.

The funding will help ensure a pipeline of world-class cyber professionals, with the creation of a Doctoral training programme and Masters bursaries helping to deliver on the Government’s pledge of 5000 cyber professionals in NI by 2030, as well as supporting the Government’s £2.6bn National Cyber Strategy.

An additional £3.3 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council will support the delivery of the next phase of the UK’s Innovation and Knowledge Centre at CSIT as it continues linking industry, government and academic expertise to promote economic growth.

With £4.6 million from project partners, the funding builds on NI’s impressive track record of attracting investment in its Cyber Security sector, ahead of Belfast hosting the UK’s flagship cyber security event, CyberUK 2023 in April.

Speaking at the event, Minister of State for Northern Ireland Steve Baker said:

This funding will help to create jobs and strengthen Northern Ireland’s economy, ensuring NI continues to lead the way in cyber security.

We have world-class talent and expertise in NI, and the Government is committed to developing cyber security professionals, here and across the UK.

The funding will have an immediate positive impact on NI’s cyber sector, and with Belfast hosting the UK’s leading cyber security conference in April, I’m looking forward to seeing NI’s deserved recognition as a global cyber security hub.

Department for Science, Innovation and Technology Minister Paul Scully, said:

Northern Ireland’s cyber security firms play a huge role in the UK’s thriving and world-leading tech industry.

We’re investing millions so people across Northern Ireland can gain the skills for exciting careers helping people and businesses defend against cyber threats.

President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast, Professor Ian Greer, said:

This funding boost will have a hugely positive impact on the cyber security sector locally, nationally and globally.

Investing in a Doctoral Training Programme is vital for the future of our society. We are investing in the skills of the next generation of leaders in cyber security, as well as progressing the Northern Ireland economy.

Over the last 15 years, Queen’s University has helped to put Northern Ireland on the map for digital innovation. We are proud of the work that takes place through the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) and are looking forward to further developing cutting-edge research through the broader Belfast Region City Deal-funded Global Innovation Institute.

For UK Research and Innovation, Professor Dame Lynn Gladden, EPSRC Executive Chair said:

For the past 13 years the Centre for Secure Information Technologies has played a key role in helping the UK to respond to emerging cyber security threats. It is also at the heart of a thriving innovation ecosystem in Northern Ireland involving more than 100 companies and providing 2,300 people.

Together with the Cyber-AI hub this additional funding announced today will build on this success to promote further growth and support further cutting edge research that will benefit us all.

Cyber-AI Hub will see the creation of a UK Government Northern Ireland based cyber engagement lead, joining DSIT colleagues in Northern Ireland. This role, similar to positions in other regions in the UK, will engage directly with the Northern Ireland cyber sector to support the delivery of the government’s national cyber security and levelling up strategies as well as exploring opportunities for further UK government funded innovation and skills initiatives.

The funding will also allow for the continuation of the NI Cyber Security Snapshot by QUB. This will highlight opportunities and challenges for the Northern Ireland Cyber Security sector to be identified on a regular basis, further enabling growth in the sector.



New Deal for Northern Ireland

  • Substantial funding package aimed at boosting Northern Ireland’s economic growth and supporting businesses. More information here.

Cyber-AI Technologies Hub

  • Consortium of 8 Research & Development intensive cyber security companies working on AI-based security technologies.
  • The consortium includes many market-leading companies developing products that service a global export market and represents a good cross-section of the products and services within the broader cyber security market.
  • The hub is delivered on behalf of the Northern Ireland Office and the Department of Culture Media and Sport by Innovate UK – part of UK Research and Innovation.

CSIT Doctoral Training Programme

  • Development of a cohort of 15 industry-conscious cyber security PhD graduates, producing potential leaders in the cyber industry.

Masters Bursaries

  • 40 Bursaries providing free access to QUB’s MSc Applied Cyber Security and MSc Data Analytics courses.

NI Cyber Security Snapshot

  • The inaugural Cyber Security Snapshot published in May 2021, sets out a thorough baseline, ambitions, and challenges for the Northern Ireland Cyber Security ecosystem. However, there is a need to continue this research on an ongoing basis which this proposal would achieve.
  • It will provide a full list of companies in the sector, full data on them, economic stats on Cyber Security, and a labour market overview as a few examples.

CyberUK 2023

  • The UK’s flagship cyber security event, run by the National Cyber Security Centre, will take place in Belfast on 19/20 April with the theme of securing an open and resilient digital future. More information here.

CSIT Innovation and Knowledge Centre

  • In 2008, the  Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT)  was chosen by the  Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)  and  Innovate UK  to host The Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT), one of only seven UK  Innovation and Knowledge Centres (IKCs).

  • IKCs are a key component of the UK’s approach to the commercialisation of emerging technologies through creating early stage critical mass in an area of disruptive technology. They are able to achieve this through their international quality research capability and access to companion technologies needed to commercialise research.

Link: Minister of State announces UKG investment for NI’s Cyber Security industry
Source: Assent Information Services

UK announces second Global Investment Summit to create jobs in high tech sectors

  • PM announces UK’s second Global Investment Summit to take place in October.
  • Summit will bring 200+ CEOs of multinational companies and investment corporations to showcase the UK as a world-leading investment destination.
  • Latest figures show UK Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) stock reached £2 trillion in 2021, creating tens of thousands of high-value jobs across the UK.

Over 200 of the world’s highest profile investors, CEOs and financiers are expected to come to the UK in October for a second Global Investment Summit (GIS 23) – the Government announces today (Friday 10 February).

GIS 23 will aim to raise billions of pounds of high value investment to create thousands of jobs across the UK, with a special focus on high tech sectors such as innovation, research and development.

The event will build on the success of the inaugural Global Investment Summit in October 2021, that brought together over 170 CEOs to showcase the UK’s commitment to green investment ahead of COP26.

The 2021 Summit secured £9.7 billion of new foreign investment on the day, creating over 30,000 new jobs and supporting growth in vital sectors such as wind and hydrogen energy, sustainable homes, and carbon capture and storage.

Leading the Summit is the newly formed Department for Business and Trade, created by the Prime Minister to support UK businesses to invest, grow and export around the world and to create jobs and prosperity across the UK.

The Prime Minister will confirm the UK is hosting a second Summit during a meeting of the Investment Council on Friday, where he will address global investors to set out his priorities for creating jobs and growing the economy.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:

“This week we drove serious change from the heart of government by creating four new departments. This was done to deliver on the promises and priorities of the British people, and to go further and faster on our ambition to drive jobs and growth in every part of the UK and ensure we are at the cutting edge of technology and innovation.

“The next Global Investment Summit is an opportunity to demonstrate what we can do as a nation, delivering on our ambition to be the a world-leading destination for international finance and investment.”

Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said:

“Investment creates high quality jobs and grows our economy.

“I started the year setting a goal of the UK becoming the undisputed number one investment destination in Europe. Events like this will help deliver this and show the world’s biggest investors just what a strong investment prospect the UK can offer.

“Overseas investment has already led to 85,000 new jobs in 2021/22 alone, and I want to us to go further, driving growth and putting more money in the pockets of hardworking Brits.

This year’s event will showcase emerging UK success stories in life sciences, deep tech, nuclear fusion and small modular reactions (SMRs), and manufacturing, with capital investment driven by the post-EU Exit financial liberalisation encapsulated in the Edinburgh reforms.

Minister for Investment Dominic Johnson said:

“The UK remains open for business. I greatly look forward to welcoming investors at the Global Investment Summit and showcasing how the UK has reached over £2 trillion in inward investment stock.

“Our low-tax, high-skill economy is unrivalled in offering strong returns, innovative businesses and a rule of law that is emulated around the world.”

Notes to editors:

  • The UK Investment Council was established and formed under the chairmanship of the Minister for Investment in April 2021 to provide a platform for 42 influential global investors so that they can highlight their perspectives, priorities and concerns relating to UK inward investment and use it as an opportunity to influence Government’s future approach to investment policy.
  • Their high-level expertise and advice help to guide the discussion happening around the table and to inform DIT and wider Government to ensure the UK’s remains one of the leading destinations for foreign investment. The Council also provides an opportunity for HMG to amplify its investment objectives to senior industry leaders.
  • The Council, though separate, operates in collaboration with the Office for Investment and has proven highly effective in gathering investor insights and improving the quality of Departmental stakeholder engagement.

Link: UK announces second Global Investment Summit to create jobs in high tech sectors
Source: Assent Information Services

Business and Trade Secretary signs landmark first partnership with EU nation to boost British exports

  • Kemi Badenoch signs UK-Italy export and investment partnership on visit to Rome – the first such partnership between the UK and any EU country.
  • Partnership will strengthen our post-Brexit export and investment links with Italy and intends to boost a trade relationship worth more than £43 billion.
  • Business and Trade Secretary will also co-chair the first UK and Italy CEO Forum, bringing together businesspeople from the two countries to bang the drum for the UK as a top investment destination.

The UK and Italy have today (Wednesday 8 February) agreed a momentous trade partnership to boost UK exports, help create jobs, increase wages and grow the economy.

On her first overseas visit as the Business and Trade Secretary, Kemi Badenoch MP and Italy’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Deputy Prime Minister Antonio Tajani met in Rome today to sign the UK-Italy Export and Investment Promotion Dialogue – the first agreed between the UK and any EU country.

The partnership aims to strengthen exports in high-performing and growth sectors of the future, such as Life Sciences and Digital and Tech, as well as promoting inward investment, including low-carbon industries such as Offshore Wind and Carbon Capture Storage.

The agreement reinforces the UK’s position as a vital trade partner within Europe and the G7. It demonstrates how we can use our position as an independent trading nation to agree comprehensive trade deals with new markets, while also strengthening partnerships with EU members.

Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch MP said:

“This partnership marks a significant milestone in the UK’s trading relationship with Europe and shows how an independent UK can benefit from striking ambitious trade deals with the world, while also reinforcing our already strong and prosperous trading relationship with EU members such as Italy.

“This partnership will boost trade and investment between British and Italian businesses, ease the path for valuable investment, and will crucially grow UK exports as we aim for our target of selling £1 trillion of goods and services a year to the world by the end of the decade.”

Both the UK and Italy are in the top 10 global economies. Trade between the UK and Italy is worth more than £43 billion, making it the UK’s 11th largest trading partner.

The most popular UK exports to Italy include cars, worth £932.5 million and equivalent to 10.1% of all UK goods exported to Italy, and £507.7 million worth of mechanical power generators.

In 2020-21, Italy was also the 6th largest source of UK Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) projects globally.

During her visit, the Business and Trade Secretary will co-chair the first UK and Italy CEO Forum, alongside the Minister for Enterprises and Made in Italy Adolfo Urso. The meeting is the first of its kind and she will discuss her top trade priorities which include breaking down trade barriers, making the UK the undisputed top investment destination in Europe and attracting new investment helping to level-up the country.

She will also meet with the heads of major Italian investors in the UK including innovative wind turbine business ACT Blade, and Eni, world leading energy company.

Badenoch will also make the opening remarks at the 30th anniversary of the Pontignano Forum where she will discuss the importance of economic security and trade in turbulent times.

Link: Business and Trade Secretary signs landmark first partnership with EU nation to boost British exports
Source: Assent Information Services

British business sizes up global trade wins as Malaysia and Chile join Indo-Pacific bloc

  • Malaysia and Chile ratify membership of CPTPP, bolstering the Indo-Pacific trade bloc worth a combined £9 trillion of GDP
  • The UK is working to become the first European member of the bloc this year with negotiations progressing well
  • British businesses can add Malaysia and Chile to the list of countries they could benefit from lower tariffs on exports to now they have joined CPTPP

Malaysia and Chile have officially joined the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), meaning British businesses will get better access and lower tariffs in the Malaysian and Chilean markets when the UK joins the dynamic trade bloc.

Malaysia is one of the CPTPP members with which the UK does not currently have a bilateral free trade agreement. The UK and Malaysia both joining CPTPP will greatly increase the UK’s access to the Malaysian market and could boost the £2.9bn worth of exports we currently sell there annually.

Chile was the first country to sign a trade deal with the UK after we left the EU which secured preferential access to each other’s markets. Chile remains one of the foremost champions of free and open trade in the Pacific region and is keen to deepen our trading relationship, which was already worth £1.5bn in 2021.

Joining CPTPP will also provide opportunities for collaboration with Chile in areas such as fintech, green finance and cybersecurity, supporting innovation in our financial services sector and helping develop our countries as leaders of financial services.

The UK is making good progress in negotiating our own accession to CPTPP. UK accession could mean more than 99% of UK exports to member countries become eligible for tariff-free trade.

Minister of State for Trade Policy Greg Hands said:

This is great news for UK businesses and global free trade. The Indo-Pacific has some of the most innovative and fast-growing economies in the world and closer ties with markets like Malaysia and Chile will demonstrate how our trade agenda is delivering for the whole of the UK.

I’ve spent the last few days in the Asia-Pacific region to discuss our accession to CPTPP which will take the bloc from 12% to 15% of global GDP and will mean we are using our independent trading powers to bring a new, strong, persuasive voice to a network committed to free trade.

Sheffield-based chilli paste manufacturer Mak Tok has been exploring Malaysia as a new potential market and is looking to license the brand and partner with a manufacturer in the country.

Mak Tok rose to fame after showcasing its Malaysian chilli paste and sauces on Dragon’s Den. The business has been created around traditional Malaysian cuisine and already exports to other CPTPP member countries including New Zealand.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) has supported Mak Tok on its exporting journey and the benefit of improved market access could mean they see increased opportunities to trade with Malaysia as joint members of CPTPP.

Mak Tok Founder Will Chew said:

Malaysia and its neighbouring countries have always been markets Mak Tok has been trying to penetrate. For the past few months, we have been working closely with our dedicated International Trade Advisor and the wider Department for International Trade (DIT) team on a strategy to establish those critical initial contacts in the region.

Being a part of CPTPP will accelerate our conversations with potential manufacturing and distribution partners, which will generate a new revenue stream for the business, expand our market reach and increase the movement of our products.

These key metrics will fuel the growth of Mak Tok by attracting new key investors in the Indo-Pacific region to help drive the brand even further.

Founded in Bath in 1990, the Fine Cheese Co. export a range of traditionally made artisan cheeses from independent producers from across the UK. The product can currently be found in over 600 delicatessens, farm shops and independent retailers across the UK and thirty other nations across the globe, from Chile to Australia.

Fine Cheese Co. Owner and Director, John Siddall, said:

Having exported to the country since 2008, The Fine Cheese Co. is excited about the future opportunity of the Chilean market at the nation’s gourmet market expands.

The most recent round of CPTPP negotiations, held in London in December, made good progress and the UK continues to engage in talks on both a bilateral and collective basis with CPTPP members.

Joining CPTPP puts Britain at the heart of a dynamic group of countries, as the world economy increasingly centres on the Pacific region. As these economies grow, stronger trade links with these countries are crucial to benefiting from this growth.

Notes to editors

  • CPTPP is made up of 11 countries in the Asia Pacific and Americas, namely Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam
  • CPTPP had a combined GDP of £9 trillion and was home to over 500 million people in 2021
  • CPTPP membership not only offers significant direct opportunities for UK exports, but it could also act as a gateway to the wider Indo-Pacific region, which is expected to account for the majority (56%) of global economic growth between 2019 and 2050.

Link: British business sizes up global trade wins as Malaysia and Chile join Indo-Pacific bloc
Source: Assent Information Services