'Government still learning about IT sector'

The David Cameron-led coalition government is still very much learning about the IT industry, with only the chancellor, George Osborne, escaping a majority thumbs-down in terms of tech credentials.

Such is the verdict of the nation’s senior IT executives, polled last month by Intellect in what the hi-tech trade group described as the first in a series of quarterly readings of the state’s IT nous.

In fact, more than two-thirds of the IT leaders do not think that the government understands the tech sector “very well,” despite an ongoing roll-out of policies designed to boost it.

Moreover, almost half of the respondents believe that, on balance, the state’s announcements have hurt UK IT, a quarter are unsure while only 30% say they have had a welcome effect.

More positively, when asked whether the UK has to the potential to become “Europe’s leading technology centre” – an objective set by Mr Osborne, the bulk of the IT bosses agreed.

“This is clearly an encouraging sign [but] there is a feeling that the actions government have taken thus far do not quite go far enough”, Intellect said. “A more comprehensive plan or strategy is required.”

Pointing to their own agenda, the IT executives signalled expansion plans and extra recruitment: 67% will grow their outfit over the next six months and 43% are “very likely” to hire more workers, with 39% “possibly” doing the same.

“In spite of the difficult economic headwinds, technology companies for the most part are expecting to expand their business and to take on new staff,” reflected Intellect. “By no means does this survey provide a complete picture but these are encouraging trends”.

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