U.K. Government Must Spur Tech Revolution, BOE’s Haldane Says

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The U.K. government must take action to spur a technological revolution that will create a “faster and smarter” economy and equip companies for the post-pandemic world, according to Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane.

The U.K.’s recovery in July was “further and faster” than expected, but a whole new raft of measures are needed, including tax incentives and access to funding, to help millions of businesses adapt, Haldane wrote in a jointpaper with former John Lewis Partnership Chairman Charlie Mayfield for the The Mail on Sunday.

The rare policy recommendation comes just weeks before Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveils his budget andspending review to save jobs and pump new life into the coronavirus-battered economy.

The U.K. has generally been a laggard with regard to new innovations, particularly among small- and medium-sized firms, the authors wrote. Still, companies this year have adopted tech four times faster than in all of 2019 to keep operations running, they said.

“It is good news that many more businesses now have the appetite and experience to upgrade their technologies,” they said. “The less good news is that many of the barriers to that wider adoption are long-standing and remain deep-seated.”

The BOE signaled last week that it may considercutting interest rates below zero for the first time as coronavirus infections resurge and the risk of a no-deal Brexit looms.

Mayfield is the chairman of Be The Business, a group that aims to boost U.K. competitiveness. Haldane wrote in his position as chair of the U.K.’s Industry Strategy Council.

Read more: The virus is putting Britain’s next industrial revolution on ice.

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