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What does the budget mean for the IT industry?

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It’s budget day today and IT professionals eagerly await the latest ‘promises’ that will be made for the IT sector. The industry hopes for tax relief for research and development, training incentives and a boost in IT investments? However it is unsure what will be revelled today until Gordon Brown stands at the dispatch box. Last year the chancellor was criticised for his complex interventions. There is hope that this years measures will be simplified.

So what has the budget ever done for the IT industry?

1997 – Brown announced “leading-edge business gain funds to develop new technologies”. He also promised to cut corporation tax and to abolish advanced corporation tax.

1999 – The Government announced the launch of its National Computing Strategy, worth £1.7bn. The strategy was aimed to build 1000 skills and training centres. However initially only 30 appeared.

2000 – Perhaps the most important budget for the IT industry to date. Brown stated “The budget is built on the realities of the new economy……..Britain [will be seen] as the best place for e-commerce, and up with the US as soon as possible.”
Notable announcements were: SME’s could write off IT equipment within one year and visa arrangements were changed to allow non-EU workers to join UK companies.

2001 – Saw an improvement of many of the announcements made in 2000, tax interventions and training programmes.

So what is store for 2002? We’ll find out today. The pre-budget statement in December 2001 indicated that pilot training schemes to promote basic IT skills amongst workers was in the pipeline. In addition, consumer associations will be given the right to settle disputes over software licensing at the Office of Fair Trading.

Watch this space.


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