Another day, another Prime Minister

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Here we go again… It’s been 44 days since we published an article on the new Prime Minister and what it means for the UK tech industry. 

It’s October 2022 and Rishi Sunak has been announced as the country’s third prime minister in two months. Yes, this feels like Deja Vu but it’s happening. 

Previously Chancellor for two years, Rishi Sunak is known for supporting the UK’s science and technology sectors, formerly pledging a commitment to make the country a ‘superpower’ in these industries. Prior to his role as Chancellor, his background in tech and investments has earned him a reputation as an ambassador for the industry and the UK’s tech sector is welcoming him as the new PM. 

It may be a new month, it may be colder, and we may have a new parliament, but the question remains, what does the new PM mean for UK tech? 

Cryptocurrency is a priority 

In 2021 Sunak proposed a central bank digital currency (CBDC) or ‘Britcoin’ and in April 2022 he continued this commitment to making the country a ‘global cryptoasset hub’,

“It’s my ambition to make the UK a global hub for cryptoasset technology, and the measures we’ve outlined will help to ensure firms can invest, innovate and scale up in this country”

This proposal was met with mixed reactions, for some Britcoin would streamline digital transactions as money can be moved easily and quickly between accounts cutting costs. Whereas for others, there were concerns around privacy and interest rates. 

The tech world has welcomed Sunak’s new appointment and believes this result is a massive positive for crypto; within 24-hours of Number 10’s newest resident, Bitcoin saw an increase of almost 6%, Ethereum saw an increase of nearly 12% and BNB saw an increase of over 4%.*

When he first announced his crytpo plans, he also proposed that Royal Mint create a new NFT; this plan is still a dream for Sunak but now he’s PM we wonder if this will become reality. 

The tech talent shortage

Compare April 2021 with 2020 and there were more than 64,000 vacancies, a 191% increase, and finding people to fill these vacancies is difficult. The skills shortage that the UK is facing means that the competition from businesses to find candidates is high and the skills gap is only widening if action isn’t taken. And fast. 

Tech jobs saw the number of people employed in the tech sector increase by 1.4 million from 2020 to 2022 – and the sector has seen an increase in value for more than a decade. In 2021 when Sunak was Chancellor, he pledged £3bn to spend on boosting skills funding investing heavily in tech bootcamps, and in his earlier campaign for Prime Minister in September this year, Sunak pledged a task force for science and technology. He also wants to put ‘science and innovation at the heart of the government.’ 

Time will tell 

With Liz Truss lasting 44 days in parliament, Sunak’s probably feeling the pressure and wants to make a positive impact sooner rather than later. Based on his record, the tech community has reason to be cautiously optimistic, he’s consistently supported fintech however this support hasn’t always lived up to the original promises. There’s a lot of uncertainty in the market, and people are definitely wary of what will play out over the next few weeks (hopefully months).  

develop is an international recruitment agency focussed on finding the right software engineering talent for you and your business. If you’re looking to grow your teams then we’re here to help – just get in touch.

*Accurate as of 26.10.2022 

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