29 January 2019

The government is today being warned by the UK’s leading IT professional body that a no-deal Brexit would cause lasting damage to the future of science and innovation in the UK and could undermine the country’s position as a leading digital economy.

BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, made the stark prediction in a report to the House of Commons Select Committee Inquiry: Brexit, Science and Innovation: Preparations for 'No-deal', which is investigating the likely impact on IT and technology if the UK left the EU without an agreement.

Its main areas of concerns centre around the following:

  • The adverse impact of restrictions on the free flow of ideas and people.
  • A lack of access to pan-European research and funding.
  • No agreement in sight on data flows between the EU and UK post-exit from - which it says: “the impact of this should not be understated, especially for larger organisations with international business.”
  • A high possibility of a skills shortage in the UK workforce.

Bill Mitchell, Director of Policy said: “Without better preparation, a no-deal Brexit is likely to cause lasting damage in areas as far-ranging as filling tech vacancies - to trust in the reliability of UK research organisations.”

He added: “BCS believes the UK Government must act quickly to provide clarity for the science and innovation community in the short to medium term, whilst also doing what is necessary to deliver a clear vision for the UK’s science and innovation community.

“Whether that course involves maintaining the existing status quo for a period of time, or charting a different course to make the much-needed changes in the IT sector that would ensure our continuation as a digital world-leader.

“Either way, in the event of a no-deal Brexit and without clarity from the Government, there are significant impacts for the science and innovation community that will have far-reaching consequences for the UK’s overall prosperity.”

BCS came to its conclusions after its wide-ranging consultation with other organisations; specifically the UK Computing Research Committee, the Council for Professors and Heads of Computing, and the Royal Academy of Engineering.

*House of Commons Select Committee Inquiry: Brexit, Science and Innovation: Preparations for 'No-Deal'

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