Budget 2011: Need to know

We round up what the most pertinent points of the 2011 Budget were from a business IT perspective.

The Government found itself under the cosh recently after considering plans to cut funding for science. Osborne may have had that in mind when announcing life sciences would receive a cash boost of 100 million from the Government.

He confirmed the money would be added to the existing science allocation for developing new research facilities throughout the UK.

He also revealed plans for a new "technology and innovation centre" in the UK, with a focus on "high value manufacturing."

The tech sector would have been delighted by the Chancellor's proselytising over how technology manufacturing was one of the top ways of making money in a struggling economy.

Let's hope the money, which appears significant at first glance, goes into the right areas.

Jobs, jobs, jobs

One key point of the whole budget speech was the need for improving the UK job market.

In light of this, Government funding for an additional 80,000 work experience places across the UK was announced, alongside funding for 50,000 more apprenticeships over the next four years.

An additional 24 "University Technical Colleges" will be set up to encourage more young people to go into practical further education.

Whilst it was positive to see moves to address the IT skills gap in the UK, the Chancellor's speech didn't address those leaving apprenticeships or training course, however. And what of those recently made redundant? There was little mention of them during the Budget.

Perhaps more jobs will emerge from actual Government IT projects. The income tax and national insurance contributions merger will certainly require a good deal of effort on behalf of technical people. And once the two have been joined, further IT maintenance will be required.

This won't solve anything in the short term, however, considering there will be several years of discussion before any merger happens.

And although many of today's announcements appear positive at first glance, we will have to wait for the full details to emerge to know how much they will bolster the technology sector, and the UK economy as a whole.

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