英国财相Philip Hammond今年将比以往早些宣布政府财政计划以避免和脱欧谈判最终轮时间冲突。不久之前英国首相Theresa May在保守党大会上说财政紧缩将终结。
该基金（英国耐心资本基金）CEO Lewis La Torre说："我认为我们下一步的模式就是思考与我们的合作伙伴或天使投资机构一起共同投资。我们关注于风险投资与成长，我们一直关注吸引着风投界兴趣和资本的领域，因此人工智能是一大聚焦点，之后就是自动驾驶汽车。"
Lewis La Torre说："英国没有不能创造出下一个科技巨头的理由。"这些增加的投资可能旨在脱欧后弥补外界对英国的观感并舒缓人们对于金融、科技和Fintech行业的担心。
数字部长Margot James说："从智能手表到儿童玩具，联网设备对我们生活有积极影响，但它们必须具有最佳可能的安全性才能保证我们的隐私不受侵犯或我们不遭受网络攻击。英国在产品安全性方面正成为领头羊，并且将消费者必须确保设备是安全的这种负担转移向生产商。惠普和Centrica Hive的承诺值得称赞，这是第一步。其他制造商应该跟随他们的步伐，确保从产品设计之初开始日常科技活动中就采取了强劲的安全措施。"
2017年预算中提到了200万英镑的竞赛计划，支持为首次购房者开发创新型解决方案的Fintech公司。截至2018年8月， CreditLadder, Bud和RentalStep赢得了其中一部分奖金。
Philip Hammond, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, will be announcing the government’s economic plans a little early this year to avoid clashing with final Brexit negotiations and soon after Prime Minister Theresa May said that austerity was coming to an end at the Conservative Party Conference.
In addition to concerns surrounding the NHS, this is the final Budget before a deal is struck with the European Union, so whatever Hammond says may change when the negotiations are over and set in stone, after which, a mini-Budget may be announced.
Earlier this month, the UK finance minister who has been dubbed ‘Spreadsheet Phil’, said that blockchain could be a viable solution to solve the Irish border problem post-Brexit and the perfect way of delivering frictionless trade.
At the 2018 Tory Party Conference, Hammond said: “There is technology becoming available” when asked about how to resolve the issues with the border and added “I don’t claim to be an expert on it but the most obvious technology is blockchain,” as reported by the BBC.
After Hammond publicly climbed on the blockchain bandwagon, the BBC contacted the Treasury, who provided comment. “We are actively considering technologies that could help facilitate trade over the Northern Ireland - Ireland land border, in order to streamline any requirements that may emerge for traders after the UK leaves the EU. These technological solutions will support our commitment to no physical infrastructure at the land border.”
Despite there being many skeptics towards Hammond’s announcement and around the technology itself, it does show that members of the UK government are openly working with new technology and believe that this is the way forward. But what will Spreadsheet Phil bring to the table this year?
Investment in startups
Ahead of the 2017 UK Budget that had a heavy focus on business and how the digital landscape could help this sector, the HM Treasury Patient Capital Review response was published. This report consolidated support for open banking and investment in technology.
The 2017 Autumn Budget also revealed an action plan to unlock over ￡20 billion investment ($26 billion) for financial innovation over the next 10 years in a number of ways, the first being the establishment of a ￡2.5 billion ($3.2 billion) Investment Fund within the British Business Bank.
A year after the launch of the fund, Hammond may discuss the success of the BBB and how the government is considering directly investing in the most promising British startups, as reported by The Telegraph.
CEO of the British Patient Capital fund Catherine Lewis La Torre said “I think the model we would move to next would be to think about co-investing alongside our partners or the angel syndicates. Given that we have a venture and growth focus we have been looking at those areas which are attracting interest and capital from the venture community, so artificial intelligence is a big feature and autonomous vehicles are coming down the tracks very quickly.”
In addition to blockchain technology, Hammond may discuss AI and this news revealed that investments as large as over ￡50 million ($64 million) over a series of rounds would occur and would close the gap between the capital that US companies can attract.
Lewis La Torre continued to say that “There’s no reason why the UK shouldn’t create the next big tech giant” - this increased investment could be an attempt to remedy attitudes towards the UK after the vote to leave the EU and the fears for the financial, technology and fintech industries that later emerged.
In addition to this, the 2017 Budget revealed plans to launch the National Security Strategic Investment Fund which would drive ￡85 million ($109 million) into advanced technology that contributed to national security.
While developments of this fund have not been widely publicised, it was reported earlier this month that HP and Centrica Hive announced their support for a new UK Government code that would help manufacturers increase the security of internet-connected devices such as smart watches and virtual assistants.
In what the government report claims is a world first, this Code of Practice will strengthen the cyber security of products at the design stage ahead of the predicted 420 million internet-connected devices which will be in use in the UK within the next three years, that Hammond may mention on Monday.
Minister for Digital, Margot James, said: “From smartwatches to children’s toys, internet-connected devices have positively impacted our lives but it is crucial they have the best possible security to keep us safe from invasions of privacy or cyber attacks.
“The UK is taking the lead globally on product safety and shifting the burden away from consumers having to secure their devices.
“The pledges by HP Inc. and Centrica Hive Ltd are a welcome first step but it is vital other manufacturers follow their lead to ensure strong security measures are built into everyday technology from the moment it is designed.”
With open banking and PSD2 now fully in force, GDPR has now entered the spotlight with many other countries realising the importance of adopting a regulation that protects customer data in the wake of the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal.
While the CMA’s retail banking review and PSD2 were mentioned in the 2017 Budget, it was just this month that the UK Finance Minister said that Britain should be the “natural global home” of new and innovative financial services after Brexit at the IMF Annual Meeting.
In Bali, Hammond said that this would be done with the implementation of a regulatory approach towards cryptoassets and distributed ledger technology, ensuring that money can be managed in a secure environment and allowing fintech to flourish.
Speaking before the Annual Meetings, he said: “International cooperation has made our financial system safer, simpler and fairer since 2008. At home, our banking reforms have protected people and given them more confidence that their money is safe.
“The UK’s world-leading expertise means that we are in a unique position to shape the future approach to emerging technology like blockchain so that they benefit businesses, people and the economy.”
Hammond also explained the importance of open banking to his colleagues and urged them to protect their people against new risks to the global financial system by taking advantage of the new services that fintech startups are creating, a sentiment that he may mention as part of his 2018 Budget.
The 2017 Budget revealed plans to launch a ￡2 million ($2.6 million) competition to support fintech firms who are developing innovative solutions that will help first-time house buyers and by August 2018, it was announced that CreditLadder, Bud and RentalStep had won a share of the prize fund.
While Bud is an AI driven rental recognition tool that allows banks to integrate it into their apps which stores this data for future mortgage applications, CreditLadder allows tenants to report rent payments and RentalStep is a landlord-tenant matching platform.
As rent is not recognised in credit scores and in turn, makes it harder for renters to get a mortgage, the UK government awarded these three startups which offer apps that record and share rent payment data, as part of the Rent Recognition Challenge.
Alongside announcing the results of the competition, I believe that Hammond may mention how blockchain could help the proptech industry, especially because retaining customer data was such a big part of the plan.
Digital Street, the HM Land Registry’s research and development project that aims to change the current attitude towards the home buying process, may also be mentioned by Hammond. Ideas that Digital Street have already conceptualized include a property assistant where homebuyers can ask questions and get advice about what it takes to buy a home.
In addition to this, instant mortgages and new ways of approving mortgages were explored. An app would search for information about the buyer and the house on relevant registers and if no risks were found, a list would be provided to the best mortgage deals from a number of lenders.
The third concept was a property exchange assistant, which also speeds up the process of completing a house purchase, would be an online service that would use smart contracts, automate transfer funds and update the register using blockchain and with Hammond’s new love for DLT, this could be a process adopted sooner rather than later.