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Osborne: UK To Be Europe's Technology Centre

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UK TO BE EUROPES TECH CENTRE
Osborne: UK To Be Europe's Technology Centre | Getty Images

George Osborne promised to turn Britain into Europe's technology hub, in his Budget speech delivered at Westminster.

Addressing the House, he outlined what he called a "modern industrial policy", saying: "Today we also set Britain this industrial ambition. That we turn Britain into Europe's technology centre. We will start with digital content.

"The film tax credit, protected in our spending review, helped generate over £1 billion of film production investment in the UK last year alone."

Osborne said the video gaming industry would receive government support, announcing a much-called-for film tax credit-style incentive to boost the industry.

"Today I am announcing our intention to introduce similar schemes for the video games, animation and high-end TV production industries," Osborne said.

"Not only will this help stop premium British TV programmes like Birdsong being made abroad, it will also attract top international investors like Disney and HBO to make more of their premium shows in the UK. It will support our brilliant video games and animation industries too because, Mr Deputy Speaker, it is the determined policy of this Government to keep Wallace and Gromit exactly where they are."

Osborne then moved on to the issue of broadband speed, one of the most significant factors in breaking down the digital divide and encouraging tech growth.

"Two years ago Britain had some of the slowest broadband speeds in Europe; today our plans will deliver some of the fastest - with 90% of the population having access to superfast broadband, and improved mobile phone coverage for rural areas and along key roads across the UK," he said.

"But we should not be complacent by saying it is enough to be the best in Europe when countries like Korea and Singapore do even better. So today we're funding ultra fast broadband and wi-fi in 10 of the UK's largest cities. Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and London."

Osborne also said £50m will be available for smaller cities to create "the fastest digital speeds in the world available in our cities" and "the most connected countryside in Europe and the most creative digital content anywhere."

Osborne did not mention how his Budget would generate creativity in content.