Houghton and Sunderland South MP, Bridget Phillipson has told Tory Business Minister Ed Vaizey his Government needs to invest in Sunderland’s software industry if the UK is to be ‘at the heart’ of the world’s software market.
In a debate, secured by Bridget, she argued the UK software industry is properly placed to challenge for the top spot, thanks to the investment and infrastructure set up by the previous Labour government.
However, the actions of the Tory’s and Lib Dems since the election have the potential to hold back the growth of the software industry, which include:
- Scrapping Labour’s pledge of universal access to broadband by 2012;
- Reversing a pre-election pledge to implement tax breaks for sectors of the UK software industry; and,
- Cutting Regional Development Agencies (RDAs), such as One North East.
Bridget then spoke of the successful partnership of Sunderland City Council, One North East, University of Sunderland and the business community in pioneering services such as the e-volve centre and Sunderland Software City. These combined efforts have attracted software companies estimated at a worth of £250 million to the region, including Fifth Generation Technologies, Codeworks, DigitalCity, The Test Factory, Raise a Tree, and Guroo.
Bridget said: ‘It was vitally important for the government to recognise that London is not the only place with tech start ups. I’m quite shocked it takes a debate to make them aware of this.
‘Projects in the region like Sunderland Software City are ripe for government investment. Labour provided all the tools to make this happen, with One North East and planned tax breaks to the computer games sector.
‘The Coalition’s cuts could threaten growth and jobs in not only the UK software sector but growth overall, particularly in Sunderland and the North East.'
Bridget’s full speech can be read here.
A related article by Sunderland's Software City can be read here.