The UK is set to benefit from 1,600 new tech jobs as part of a £2.3bn investment from private companies including cloud giant Salesforce, the Prime Minister announced on Tuesday.
Theresa May announced the multi-billion pound investment from US tech companies and venture capitalists ahead of a meeting with tech leaders in Number 10 tomorrow.
US cloud provider Salesforce said it will invest £1.9bn in the UK over the next five years. The company confirmed it planned to create 900 jobs as part of the investment programme.
Meanwhile, UAE investment fund Mubadala will launch a new £300m fund based in the UK and Japanese telecoms company NTT will invest £41m in a new office, creating 200 jobs.
The Prime Minister also announced a new “Start-up Visa” starting in Spring 2019. It will replace a visa route normally used by graduates and open it up to start-up founders also, the Home Office said. Applicants will have to get an endorsement from a university or a business sponsor to apply.
The new rules come after months of concern from technology companies over the state of Tier 2 visas for the UK, designed for skilled workers on higher salaries, which are oversubscribed.
Mrs May said: “The measures we are announcing today will allow innovative British start-ups to invest in their future – and in the UK – by hiring more skilled people, expanding their business and exporting their expertise across the world.”
The UK will also be launching a British Patient Capital Fund. The fund will launch with £2.5bn of government backing and hopes to secure an additional £5bn of private investment in the coming years.
Several other start-ups confirmed new investment in the UK as part of London Tech Week, a gathering of tech leaders and investors from around the world. The news comes after Amazon last week said it would create an additional 2,500 jobs in the UK.
The UK has been fighting to stay ahead of European rivals in key technology fields, such as artificial intelligence as cities like Paris and Berlin angle to make themselves attractive to start-up founders.
However, there have been challenges. While London Tech Week has attracted several major executives, last month Paris played host to Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, who spoke at Viva Tech 2018.
Number 10 said British tech businesses attracted $7.8bn (£5.8bn) of funding last year, around double the amount raised in 2016. France and Germany’s combined total was $6bn.