In its autumn statement, UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s government is making big bets on the digital future of Britain, including investments in driverless cars and some £1bn towards fibre and 5G.
The UK Chancellor, among a raft of measures designed to strengthen the UK economy post-Brexit, has revealed a new National Productivity Investment fund. This is being developed to provide £23bn of additional spending, covering everything from transport to communications and research and development (R&D).
The plan includes making £390m available to invest in the future of transport technology, such as driverless cars, renewable fuels and energy efficient transport.
This incorporates £100m going towards testing infrastructure for driverless cars, £150m to provide at least 550 new electric and hydrogen buses to reduce emissions from 1,500 existing buses, and support for taxis to become zero emission. It will also make £80m available to install more charging points for ultra-low emission vehicles.
There will be a two-year 100pc first-year allowance for companies that install electric charge points and £450m will also be spent on trialling railway digital signalling technology.
The UK’s fibre and 5G future
The UK autumn statement will see £1bn made available to invest in full-fibre broadband and trialling 5G networks.
From April 2017, the UK government will also provide a new 100pc business rate relief for full-fibre infrastructure over a five-year period.
It will also see a major increase in R&D funding for universities and businesses with R&D projects to help the UK remain an attractive place to invest in innovative research.
This will see scientific projects backed in the areas of robotics, artificial intelligence and industrial biotechnology.