If we want our economy to grow, we need to make sure we are supporting our innovation industries.
And we are – which is why despite our traditional productivity issues, our economy has had the third-fastest growth in the G7 since 2010. That’s why I went to the United States last week.
In the UK we really do have a tech sector we should be incredibly proud of. I often bang on in these columns about how we have become Europe’s Silicon Valley – but it is true, and I really think we can be the world’s next one, too.
We are just the third country in the world to have a technology sector worth a trillion dollars – twice the size of Germany’s and three times the size of France.
When it comes to TV and film, we are also the biggest production centre in Europe and our studio space has increased by two-thirds in just three years.
And the key reason why we are so strong in all of this is that we have a world-leading financial services sector and huge amounts of talent, with four of the world’s top 20 universities being in the UK.
But it is not enough just to speak about how well Britain is doing because there is still further to go and we need to make sure that key people in those industries across the pond – investors, entrepreneurs and CEOs – know exactly what we are putting into place to support them.
I started in San Francisco, speaking to tech business leaders and the team at Andreessen Horowitz, who are one of Silicon Valley’s most famous venture capital funds and early backers of Facebook.
They recently announced their first international office will be in London, so we caught up about their plans for the UK market too.
In Los Angeles, I met some of Hollywood’s leading film and TV investors as well as Warner Bros, who announced a £240 million investment in its studios in Leavesden. This is where films such as Harry Potter and Barbie were shot, so it is excellent news that they are expanding by more than 50 per cent and creating 4,000 new jobs here in the UK.
My final stop was Seattle, and I met the CEOs of Microsoft and Amazon, as well as the president of Google. These companies are powering so many of the developments we are seeing in AI and we are leaders in the sector – not least because we are hosting the first global AI Safety Summit this year – so it was a good opportunity to catch up about the opportunities that we offer in Britain.
There really is no substitute for the face-to-face conversations we had where I really made clear that Britain’s strength in the sectors is already immense – and will only grow further. So businesses should do what they can to be part of that success story!