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In the recent Budget - one of the most eagerly anticipated fiscal events for many a year - the chancellor Philip Hammond outlined measures to ensure Britain isn't left behind in the tech revolution.
This included significant funding for artificial intelligence (AI), next-generation 5G mobile networks, electric car charge points and digital and construction skills.
There will also be regulatory changes for on-road driverless car testing – to allow more developers to apply to test driverless vehicles – and funding to put driverless cars on the roads by 2021. It’s the government’s aim to have fully driverless cars on the road in four years, with no safety attendant on board.
“Some would say that's a bold move but I believe we have to embrace these technologies, we have to take up these challenges, if we want to see Britain leading the next industrial revolution,” Hammond said before the Budget.
During his Budget address, Hammond said he wanted to secure Britain’s status as a world leader when it comes to technology and innovation. Broken down, the tech funding pledges included:
Previously, we outlined why those in the property world need to come to terms with – and embrace – AI or risk becoming obsolete. There is evidence, though, that Britain is losing its place on the world stage with regards to cutting-edge technology.
A new report conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development suggests the UK’s influence is declining when it comes to scientific research and AI inventions.
In fact, the research says that the UK accounted for just 1.9% of all AI-related patent applications from 2010 to 2015, while the majority (around 70%) of AI technological development is taking place in Korea, Taiwan, Japan and China.
The AI money announced in the Budget (£75m) will go towards supporting start-ups and increasing the number of PHD students working in this field to 200 per year, while some of the funding is also expected to aid the formation of an AI advisory body to ‘remove barriers to AI development’.
However, tech experts have warned that Britain needs to do more to avoid being left behind. While the move by the government to invest more money in AI is a positive step, Britain is in a global race to adopt more AI technology and other countries are currently pumping far more money in.
Meanwhile, the announcement of further investment in full-fibre broadband and 5G follows previous pledges by the government in the past. In March, £200 million was set aside for full fibre and 5G, while at the Autumn Statement in November 2016 there was the unveiling of a £1.1 billion boost to digital infrastructure. 5G networks are expected to be trialled next year by BT’s EE, with initial services set to be launched in 2019 and full deployments rolled out in 2020.
There were plenty of housing announcements, too, with the immediate abolition of stamp duty for first-time buyers purchasing homes worth up to £300,000 grabbing all the headlines.
An extra £44 billion for housing – to help meet the target of 300,000 new homes being built a year by the mid-2020s – councils being given powers to charge 100% council tax premium on empty properties, a new homelessness taskforce and £400 million to regenerate housing estates were other key policies outlined in Hammond’s speech.
What this latest Budget shows is the increasingly digital world we live in – with so much of our lives now lived online – and how this is going to affect all industries going forward, including property.
AI could one day play a key role in the property industry, while the rollout of 5G and full-fibre broadband is likely to be appealing to tenants who place super-fast internet access above nearly everything else when it comes to sourcing rental properties.
In an increasingly digital landscape, it’s important that your property software keeps pace. At Gnomen we can guarantee that with our all-in-one, cloud-based package, which allows you to manage all aspects of your business seamlessly.
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For more information about what Gnomen can do for you, please get in touch with us on 0208 123 9019 or book a free demo here.
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