Budget promises billions for broadband

Tech and comms are as important to the British economy as the financial sector, Alistair Darling announced in today’s budget speech.

The government has promised 10 billion for the comms sector, 2.5 billion for businesses and 750 million for emerging technologies, as tech took a key focus in the budget plan for the next year.

Forecasting growth of 1.25 per cent in 2010, Chancellor Alistair Darling said: "The British economy is diverse, flexible and resilient which is why we can be confident in recovery."

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He said the sources of growth would be varied, adding it will increasingly come from investing in so-called "industries of the future" including low-carbon technologies, advanced manufacturing and the communications sector.

"These industries, together, are as important to the British economy as the financial services sector," he added.

Among other investment plans, Darling promised 2.5 billion in investment in businesses and 750 million for emerging technologies, with the hopes of spurring growth in those areas, as well as creative industries. "This will encourage firms to bring forward investment, in particular those companies in the growth sectors that will deliver the rewarding jobs of the future," Darling said.

Darling also said the budget included 10 billion in investment for the telecommunications sector, adding "it is vital to ensure the entire country and economy benefits from the digital age".

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The goal of the investment follows the Digital Britain report, which is looking to extend broadband access "to almost every community", Darling added.

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Darling also stressed the importance of protecting the environment a sound message on Earth Day and said he was also presenting the "world's first ever carbon budget" that would see Britain cut emissions by 34 per cent by 2020.

This will be backed up by 405 million investment in creating greener manufacturing through new technology, he said.

The budget also reported cost savings from technology use some of which were reported yesterday in a government operations report.

The budget showed that the UK Border Agency is cutting 150 million, partially through new tech such as iris and facial recognition systems, while the police services are cutting 1 billion, partially by saving police time through mobile device use.

Click here to find out what IT firms were hoping to hear from the government in the budget.

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