By Amelia Isaacs on Monday 30 January 2023
Hunt called out Monzo and Revolut specifically as “shining examples” of the UK’s “world-beating” fintech sector.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt gave a speech at Bloomberg on Friday outlining plans to boost the UK government, including a call to make the country the “world’s next Silicon Valley”.
The comment was directed at notable executives from major fintech and tech companies in the audience, including Revolut CEO Nik Storonsky and leaders from Monzo, Amazon, Meta, Microsoft, Apple and Google.
Hunt noted that the UK’s fintech sector was second only to the US when it came to attracting funding last year and that the “London/Oxford/Cambridge triangle” has the most tech businesses in the world outside San Francisco and New York.
He called for Brits to have a more American apporach, saying the attitude to risk in the UK “can still be more cautious compared to our US friends”.
“We have Monzo and Revolut, shining examples from our world-beating fintech sector,” Hunt said.
“You are all vital for Britain’s economic future, but Britain is vital for your future too,” he continued.
“So I want to ask all of you to help our country achieve something that is both ambitious and strategic. I want to ask you to help turn the UK into the world’s next Silicon Valley.”
Hunt explained that what he meant by this call to transform the UK is that he wants anyone thinking of starting or investing in an “innovation or technology-centred business” to want to do so in the UK.
In his speech he acknowledged the importance of low taxes in creating incentives and “fostering the animal spirits” that spur economic growth, but did not seem to offer any new or specific policies.
He also indicated that the upcoming Budget on 15 March would not contain big tax cuts, instead citing the need to curb inflation.
The chancellor said the government aims to produce the most competitive tax regime “of any major country”, which means restraint on spending.
Outlining a vision for growth as one of the government’s five priorities, he noted the country’s weaknesses, citing poor productivity, low business investment and a skills gap, but said “declinism about Britain is just wrong”.
“[A]s you look for funding to expand, we offer one of the world’s top two financial hubs and the world’s largest net exporter of financial services,” Hunt said.
He said that the aspiration to be a “technology superpower” is not just ambitious, but achievable, and shared the government’s determination to make it happen.
“Every big business was a start-up once – and we will not build the world’s next Silicon Valley unless we nurture battalions of dynamic new challenger businesses,” he added.
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