By Claire West
Today, a new program is launched by Baroness Shields, to help US technology companies build their international headquarters in the UK.
The UK internet economy is booming: already worth over £120 billion annually, with digital job growth outperforming all other sectors by 2020. The UK is now making it even easier to be part of this success story.
Today Baroness Shields, the Prime Minister’s Digital Advisor, launched HQ-UK, an initiative to showcase why the United Kingdom is the best place to establish an international HQ. The new British Government program includes a concierge service that offers a single point of contact who will roll out the red carpet to make expansion easy for US tech companies. Whether you need advice to speed up visa applications, priority border control at UK airports, accelerated access to UK bank accounts, or support incorporating your company incorporation, HQ-UK delivers.
Baroness Shields, Digital Advisor to the Prime Minister, said:
“Today, on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government, I am pleased to launch HQ-UK - a new initiative which demonstrates exactly why tech companies should choose the UK as their international HQ and operational base when they expand from the US.
“Nowhere beats the UK as an international hub for tech companies who are looking to thrive, innovate and grow. As someone who has spent 25 years operating on both sides of the Atlantic, I have no hesitation in saying that the UK is now the best place to build a global business.”
Number one for inward foreign direct investment stock in Europe and second in the world after the US, more companies choose the UK as their base than anywhere else in Europe. With the British economy growing at the fastest rate in the G7 in 2014, now is the time for technology companies expanding globally to choose the UK as their international hub.
At the heart of the UK’s digital ecosystem is a skilled, tech-savvy workforce and the second largest labour market in the EU. Home to four of the world’s top six universities, the UK has the highest proportion of adults with tertiary education in Western Europe. The UK has made an unrivalled commitment to building digital skills by introducing coding to the school curriculum nationwide and targeted initiatives such as Tech City UK’s Digital Business Academy.
For companies who want to bring exceptional talent from outside of the EU, the UK offers a number of specialist visas, including the Exceptional Talent Visa for highly skilled tech talent, as well as entrepreneur and investor
Reformed tax system
From April 1st 2015, the UK’s fully reformed tax system will offer the lowest corporation tax rate in the G7 and the joint lowest in the G20. Then there are particular benefits for innovative companies — the Patent Box provides a 10 per cent tax rate for income arising from UK or EU patents, together with generous improved R&D tax credit regime and other reliefs for costs like interest and amortisation.
A connected nation
As the digital capital of Europe, the UK offers a strong base for technology companies with clusters of digital excellence across the country. While many consider London to be the heart of the UK tech boom, a large percentage of the digital economy is based outside the city, with a rich tapestry of tech capabilities including software development in Newcastle, media and gaming in Brighton, and wireless and networking in Cambridge.
The UK’s digital and transport infrastructure meets companies’ “need for speed,” including the world-class superfast broadband service and airports that serve more destinations on a daily basis than any other country in Europe.