Hard Brexit could damage ‘tech capital of Europe’, says Khan
London’s tech industry may lose out if a hard Brexit means capping migration, Sadiq Khan has warned.
The Mayor of London was asked by London Assembly Member Fiona Twycross (Lab) at City Hall on March 22 whether he thought the government’s digital strategy was enough to prepare the capital for a “digital revolution”, referring to Brexit as the “elephant in the room”.
Mr Khan responded: “I think that we are the capital of Europe as far as tech is concerned. One of the reasons we are a world leader is our ability to attract talent.
“But if the government does not allow flexible immigration policy, and there is instead a crude cap, that will affect our ability to remain competitive.”
The Mayor’s warning follows an optimistic report from Tech City UK, whose Tech Nation report affirmed the former’s claim that the UK is “the digital capital of Europe”.
The report revealed that the capital produced a tech turnover of £56 billion, and that it was home to a third of Europe’s businesses valued at more than $1bn.
But Wendy Tan White, general partner at Entrepreneur First, warned: “There are some big challenges ahead of the British digital tech sector, not least finding the skilled staff to continue growing at this rate.
“Whatever happens in the coming months, the UK must continue to be an attractive place for investors to want to put their money, prioritising support and infrastructure for the start-up economy.”
Khan said that tech entrepreneurs are “either freelance or self-employed”, and should be assured job security from the government.
He later said that it was his view that the government should “rule out its hard Brexit no-deal approach”.