The UK Digital Sectors After Brexit

  • techUK techUK
    Tuesday24Jan 2017
    News

    Tech must form bedrock of Brexit success, says techUK following major new report outlining the areas where the UK is most at risk from Brexit.

New research launched today outlines how the UK’s fast-growing high-exporting digitally intensive industries can form the bedrock for Brexit success. techUK today publishes a major new report commissioned from Frontier Economics The UK Digital Sectors After Brexit, alongside a set of key asks for Government to prioritise in forthcoming EU exit negotiations. 


New research shows that at 16% of GVA, 24% of total UK exports, and three million jobs, businesses that either produce or intensively use digital technology make up a large, and growing, part of the UK economy. As the UK looks to forge a new future as ‘Global Britain’, the continued success of the digital sectors will be essential for jobs and growth. 

The report, available for download at the bottom of this page, details three areas where the digital economy is most at risk from the impact of Brexit - market access and digital trade, access to skills and free flow of data. The UK’s digital sectors are heavily integrated with global markets. 20% of digital goods and services are exported internationally. 81% of digital exports are in services.

Jacqueline de Rojas, President of techUK and Managing Director, UK and Ireland - Northern Europe of Sage said: “There is no sector more dynamic, more innovative, more resilient than tech, but that doesn’t make it immune to Brexit. As this report makes clear, there are real risks that need to be understood and addressed. The UK’s thriving tech sector can come through this process and go on to power the vision of Global Britain.”

De Rojas added: “The UK’s digitally intensive businesses are big exporters to Europe and the rest of the world. They represent the best of what Global Britain can be: open, fast-moving innovative and internationally successful. It is essential that their importance and needs are recognised.”

Based on the research, techUK has also set out a number of key asks for Government on its key priorities for negotiations on Brexit, available here or for download at the bottom of this page.

Julian David, CEO of techUK, said: “The key message of this report is that the Government needs to be realistic about the impact of Brexit on the UK’s digital sectors. It is manageable but it needs to be managed. A disorderly Brexit would be highly disruptive. These businesses are highly dependent upon the single market – they need regulatory continuity and negotiated access in key areas. A bespoke free trade agreement is the best vehicle for that. But there will need to be a comprehensive transitional deal. A full FTA will take several years to implement.”

David added: “The real red line is ensuring a robust legal basis for cross border data flows. It may appear an obscure issue but the reality is you need a data passport to ensure data can travel and be processed across borders. Without it, the UK’s entire trade in services with the EU will be vulnerable. 

“Finally, there needs to be credible plan for ensuring the UK remains open and attractive to the talent it needs. We need our digital sectors to be able to grow and innovate quickly. Our domestic talent pipeline can be improved, but not overnight. Global Britain will need access to the best global talent.”

Michael Keegan, Deputy President of techUK and Chairman of Fujitsu UK and Ireland comments: “The Government has committed to ensuring that the UK remains open for business.  As part of this, companies will be looking for; a robust legal basis for cross-border data flows, that the UK remains open to the very best global talent, and that British businesses are able to compete fairly across European markets.  We hope that both the UK Government and the EU will recognise the need for a win-win outcome and respond positively by creating an open relationship which supports cross-border businesses and jobs.”

Find out more information on techUK's Brexit Hub or contact Giles Derrington for further information.


The UK Digital Sectors After Brexit (pdf)techUK priorities for European Exit Negotiations January ... (pdf)

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