Digital & Hi-tech News

Bristol could be UK’s Silicon Valley, says chief secretary to Treasury

Share Article

Written by: Hannah Baker | Posted 05 February 2018 10:05

Bristol could be UK’s Silicon Valley, says chief secretary to Treasury

Treasury chief secretary Liz Truss MP says Bristol could be Britain’s answer to Silicon Valley.

Visiting Bristol-based technology business Ultrahaptics, which has developed tech using ultrasound to project sensations on to a hand, the cabinet minister said the city is a fantastic place to live and work, which will attract the people technology businesses need.

She said: “Tech businesses are all about the people who come up with the ideas and do the programming.

“It is really important to have a great environment for people to be part of. Ultrahaptics started off in Engine Shed and grew – and when you get collections of businesses [as you do in Engine Shed] you can get more ideas and it's the way Silicon Valley started.
“Silicon Valley began 30 to 40 years ago - it takes time to build that up and get that level of investment and Bristol could definitely do the same.”

Read more: Bristol among first UK cities to benefit from ultrafast fibre broadband

The minister pointed out there is a lot of interest in the South West as the fastest-growing part of the UK economy outside London.

She explained: “We are seeing lots if interest from Silicon Valley. There is something very special about this part of the country.
“I think when you get a critical mass of firms of talent and people it creates something really exciting. We have all these brilliant start-ups, but how can we help them get up to the next level? How can we get a British Amazon or Google that can do well globally?”

The minister says the Government is helping the city’s businesses by giving £80million to mayor Marvin Rees for transport as well as putting £2billion into improving connectivity in and out of the South West including along the M49 and A303.

Commenting on Bristol’s transport, she said: “It's up to the people of Bristol what that transport is, but whether it's a tram scheme or something like that to improve movement around Bristol, it is really important for helping the city's economy to grow.”

Read more: Bristol businesses invited to launch of new service supporting ambitious companies wanting to scale up

The minister added Britain is an “open country” and welcomes talented people from around the world, but says the Government also wants to train up more people in the UK with the right skills to help tech firms grow.

She added: “We are trebling the number of computing teachers and we have probably got the best computer science curriculum in the world now.

“But there is also a role for companies to train people up and take on apprentices through our new apprenticeship scheme.
“Some of the skills change faster than schools or universities are able to keep up with so a lot of it does have to be about really great on-the-job training as well.”

Share Article