IT industry demands Budget incentives

Link: Preview: Budget 2003 special report

IT Week asked experts what they would most like to see in the Budget, due this Wednesday, 9 April. Several called for financial incentives for IT best practices.

Recent developments such as London’s congestion charge, and the flexible working law for parents, which takes effect this week, are causing some firms to lobby for changes. Communications giant Nortel Networks is asking the government to sponsor high-speed links that support home workers, for example.

Derek Wyatt, a Labour MP who has been a lobbyist for more IT support in government, called for rural broadband subsidies and changes to the IR35 tax that has raised costs for some IT contractors.

The Enron scandal and the 11 September tragedy have also focused attention on data security and risk management.

“We would like to see tax breaks or concessions for IT users in companies that have taken steps to protect themselves from data loss,” said Adrian McDonald, UK country manager of storage giant EMC. ‘We’d like to see the government recognise that organisations that protect their data are essentially protecting the UK economy.’

Others called for extensions to current benefits such as the R&D tax credit that was introduced last year to encourage spending on innovative technology projects in the UK among engineering, pharmaceutical, electronics and other firms.

Related reading