Autumn Statement survey results

Following on from the Chancellor’s recent Autumn Statement in Parliament, BCS set up a survey to find out what people thought of the government’s statement. Out of the 312 people who took part, 97 per cent of them identifyed themselves as being BCS members. Here’s a top-level summary of what they had to say, put together by the BCS Community and Policy team.

A plurality of BCS members (53 per cent) felt that the £2bn of funding committed for research and development (R&D) was the most important policy to come out of the Autumn Statement for UK IT professionals.

£1bn of extra funding for broadband was a distant second with 29 per cent feeling that it was of the greatest importance. Furthermore, 60 per cent of people stated that the UK becoming the ‘world leader in 5G’ (an aim put forward by the Chancellor) would not have a direct impact on their business.

BCS further explored our member’s thoughts in relation to new broadband funding by asking them, on a 0-5 scale, to say how beneficial improved IT speeds would be for both the public at large and IT professionals. 68 per cent of respondents felt that the £1bn of extra broadband funding would be highly, or very highly beneficial to the public (options 4 and 5 in the scale). Conversely, only 46 per cent felt that this would be the case for IT professionals.

These findings suggest that, while important and useful, increased funding for broadband will not necessarily present ‘a step-change’ for businesses in IT as the Chancellor alluded to in his statement. However, our members overwhelmingly feel the increase in funding will be of high value for wider society.

Additionally, it highlights the importance placed in R&D spending, an area the UK has lagged behind on, compared to other developed countries, for some time.

‘Future transport technology’ such as driverless cars received £350m extra funding in the Autumn Statement and consequently, we asked a multiple-choice question about potential risks of this relatively new technology. Fifty per cent felt that ensuring the safety of the technology was the greatest worry they had, which is possibly unsurprising when you consider stories such as a Google driverless car crashing into a bus earlier this year. However, BCS members were sceptical of the utility of this extra funding when compared to other new policies, with only one per cent of respondents picking it as the most beneficial change for IT professionals.

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