Research and Development
The UK has an excellent research base in the IT sector. Areas such as “Silicon Fen” around Cambridge are at the forefront of development work. But there is far more that can be done to be able to compete within the global market.
Links between Universities and industry are especially important in enabling the country to take full advantage of the work done by researchers. Lessons should be learnt from the sectors such as biotechnology which currently have a very good record in forging such relationships.
Government has a role to play by virtue of the research funding which it makes available to the higher education sector. It can also act as a catalyst to bring in additional private and charitable sector funding as already happens effectively in fields such as medical research.
Tax credits are a helpful mechanism for encouraging investment in research and development by industry. Liberal Democrats would seek to encourage the take-up of R & D tax credits by companies working in the IT sector. Particular care should be taken to apply criteria for accessing such credits that do not discourage the many small businesses in the IT sector from taking advantage of them.