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Hunt hypes up UK’s future as ‘world’s next Silicon Valley’

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Jeremy Hunt has talked up Britain’s prospects of becoming the “world’s next Silicon Valley” in a summit with creative industries leaders.

The Chancellor has said the Prime Minister’s ambition for the UK to become a “science and technology superpower” is key to the country’s future.

Speaking at a Treasury Connect event in a series of government business conferences, Hunt told creative industry bosses “the biggest opportunity for the UK going forward is to be the world’s next Silicon Valley”.

“We have the ingredients to do something remarkable,” he said.

‘Unique combination’

“We don’t just have the creativity, the entrepreneurs, the amazing businesses, but we have the world’s second largest financial sector to help those businesses grow and we have one of the world’s most respected higher education sector’s to provide the research and development heft to sit behind it,” he continued.

“It’s a unique combination, it’s the combination Silicon Valley itself had. But there aren’t very many other places in the world that have that combination.”

And Hunt highlighted the need for creative industries at the forefront of tech development, saying: “Technology needs creativity and creativity needs technology.

“All your businesses have been completely transformed by tech over the last decade but actually the tech industry needs the creativity that is the starting point of all your businesses.”

‘Not there yet’

However, he stressed that the UK was still some way off achieving tech superpower status.

“We are not there by a very long way but in the last 10 years we have become Europe’s largest tech centre, with the third largest sector in the world after the US and China,” he said. “[We’ve become] Europe’s largest life sciences sector, Europe’s second largest renewable sector and largest when it comes to offshore wind.”

His comments come after Rishi Sunak and science, innovation and technology secretary Michelle Donelan unveiled the Science and Technology Framework in March.

Ministers want to cement the UK as a tech superpower by 2030 and have pledged £370m to boost investment in innovation, bring global talent to the UK and fund cutting-edge AI research.

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