UK tech companies have lost confidence in the prospect of growth in the UK over the next two years after the Brexit vote in June.
A survey of 237 techUK members, which includes firms not headquartered in the UK but with a presence in the country, found that 93 per cent were confident of growth between 2016 and 2018 before the vote, but that the figure has now fallen to 70 per cent.
Some 49 per cent said that Brexit will have a negative impact on foreign direct investment, while 48 per cent said that capital investment and R&D spend in the next two years will fall.
A lowly 22 per cent are confident that the Leave vote will have a positive impact on the UK’s technology and digital growth.
Julian David, CEO of techUK, warned that the figures showed how the Brexit vote has dented confidence by creating huge uncertainty that will need to be rectified before firms can feel confident again.
“UK tech is resilient and innovative, but this substantial drop in confidence clearly demonstrates the need to be vigilant to immediate and pressing concerns faced by tech companies,” he said.
“To maintain the sector’s exceptional growth rate [companies] need to be confident that they will have access to the digital single market and a talented workforce, and that international data flows will be protected.”
David called on the government to compensate for any decline in EU trading by making the UK's regulatory landscape suitable for tech firms to grow.
“Now is the time to develop a world-leading digital infrastructure, and make the UK the place to invest and grow. Government must power this digital revolution, and the Industrial Strategy is a great starting point,” he said.
"Government needs to lead by example and take the opportunity to focus not just on protecting traditional industries, but on growing these industries through digitisation and supporting new industries that will drive the future economy.”
Leaving the European Union will take years to complete, and there are several technology issues to be sorted out that could have a major impact on how firms operate at home and in Europe.
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