Calls for 250,000 new IT jobs in 10 years to boost UK economy

UK needs to generate 250,000 technology jobs within eight to ten years in order to lift the country out of the recession, according to a Technology Manifesto from government and IT industry.

Lords, IT analysts and other members of the technology industry launched the ‘Technology Manifesto' today, which looks at how technology industry can help the UK economy.

By increasing the “IP-rich” technology industry workforce, the manifesto argues that a large contribution would be made to the national GDP.

The document, ‘Technology Manifesto – Making BrITain great again’ was created by software firm Micro Focus.

It was launched today at the House of Lords, with the support of Lord Young of Graffham, Lord Harris of Haringey and Lord Razzall of Mortlake, who are from the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties respectively. The launch also received the support of prominent IT analyst Richard Holway, chairman of TechMarketView.

Among businesses, Jon Moulton, chief executive at private equity firm Alchemy Partners, and Neil Berkett, his counterpart at broadcaster Virgin Media, have endorsed the manifesto. Adam Hale, chairman at the Prince’s Trust Technology Leadership Group, also pledged support.

Job creation is a central issue in the manifesto. The paper praised the work of organisations e-skills and Intellect, but said more still needed to be done: “Our data shows that 16,500 more graduates applied for social studies courses than IT courses in 2008, and the number of graduates taking IT-related degrees halved between 2003 and 2008.”

Other than job creation, there are four directional policies in the manifesto. The first is to “harness the expertise and goodwill of successful leaders around the world to mentor leaders of UK-based emerging technology businesses”.

After that, the tax incentives for those wanting to invest in technology needed to be “radically” changed, it said. And international technology companies needed to be encouraged to invest in the UK.

Additionally, other financial incentives were needed for UK-based IT companies looking to accelerate cutting edge research and development. The small to medium business tax rate should be extended to all sizes of technology company for 10 years, it said.

Lord Harris of Haringey said the manifesto would help with “generating the extra employment desperately needed by the UK”.

“Britain has some very good IP-rich technology companies, but the opportunity exists to have many more in the years to come,” added Richard Holway, chairman at TechMarketView. “The Micro Focus Technology Manifesto offers an industrial plan to develop a technology industry that can be a force for growth and prosperity at home, and on the global stage."

The UK is the fourth largest consumer of technology in the world, the manifesto noted, with £115 billion spent by businesses, consumers and the government annually.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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