What Does The UK Budget Mean For Innovation And AI?

In an attempt to solidify Britain as a key player in the artificial intelligence (AI) space, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has announced a £100M funding boost as part of his budget.

By doubling the funding for the Alan Turing Institute, the UK’s national institute for data and AI, this move will see the sector boosted by £20M a year for the next five years. This investment aims to support research in areas such as healthcare, environmental protection, and national security through the use of AI.

But the Chancellor’s vision is deeper than just financial input, Hunt is looking to solidify AI as a way to boost the UK’s productivity and economy.

This aim is part of a broader desire to mold Britain into a global science superpower, with him even remarking that he would like the UK to be the next Silicon Valley.

But whilst this cash injection is likely to provide a boost, what does it mean for wider innovation and AI in the UK? We asked the experts…


Our Experts


  • Allan Kaye, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Vespertec
  • Dr Marc Warner, CEO at Faculty
  • Daniel Burton, CEO at Wondrwall
  • Sachin Agrawal, UK Managing Director at Zoho Corporation
  • Dr Henry Balani, Global Head of Industry & Regulatory Affairs at Encompass Corporation
  • Simon Ward CEO and Founder at Inspired Thinking Group (ITG)
  • Scott Lewis, SVP at Ataccama
  • Ryta Zasiekina, Founder & Co-CEO at Concryt
  • Sarah-Jayne van Greune, COO at Payen & ILIXIUM
  • Chris Reed, Executive Marketing Director at Protectline


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Allan Kaye, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Vespertec


“From the announcement today, it’s clear that renewed focus on innovation is on the horizon for the UK government. Across the past year, investment into AI capabilities has accelerated, and it’s good to see these developments reflected in the budget, especially with Hunt delivering on his promise to invest an additional £100 million into the Allan Turing Institute over the next five years and £800 million into expanding the use of AI across the Public Sector to improve productivity.

“But this alone is not enough. If we want the UK to become the next AI superpower, or as Hunt put it “the world’s next Silicon Valley”, we need to see investment in the infrastructure required to support AI growth. This includes servers and the latest GPU architectures, as well as a network of data centres suitably equipped to handle the huge power budgets and heat dissipation associated with AI. It’s no longer enough to use AI models and demonstrate the public sector is thinking innovatively – we need to see steps taken to make this a long-term strategy aimed at putting the UK ahead and incubating start ups. For example, by giving innovative firms and research institutions the access to compute that they need to execute their solutions.

“We also need to see more recognition of the environmental impact of AI. The next age of AI needs to come hand-in-hand with new innovations in cooling technology to help balance the need for compute with sustainability initiatives. Direct-to-chip liquid cooling, for example, has been around for years but has recently rapidly increased in popularity as a solution. The next step is to make this more efficient, which is where immersed systems can make an impact. It would be good to see the Government leading by example and supporting these immersion techniques to make a real difference.

“There’s a lot of potential for future growth, and we need to make sure UK tech has the right support from the UK government. By investing in homegrown talent, the government can ensure we have the suitable systems in place to capitalise on advances in the field and position the UK as the front-runner. We need to see this urgency mirrored in government action, and so far, the action taken has not gone far enough.”


Dr Marc Warner, CEO at Faculty


“After years of stalling productivity and flatlining growth, backing our brilliant AI sector is one of the few levers the Chancellor can pull to help ensure the UK remains globally competitive.

“The technology will play a huge part in improving public service delivery, as well as boosting workforce productivity – but it must only be used in a safe, connected and human-first way.

“The AI era is here, and the Chancellor’s announcement today is another positive step along the Yellow Brick Road – a path to safely harnessing AI’s vast benefits whilst managing its risks.”


Daniel Burton, CEO at Wondrwall


“Hunt’s spotlight on AI and energy is a surge in the right direction, but the sector needs greater reassurance on the longer-term plan on connecting renewables to the grid. For now, more cash for green energy production, noting the £120m of extra funding to the Green Industries Growth Accelerator to build supply chains for new technology such as offshore wind and carbon capture, is a good thing.  Though Hunt gave a nod to a faster connections process by January 2025, an upcoming general election and lack of needed detail could potentially unplug efforts rapidly.”


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Sachin Agrawal, UK Managing Director at Zoho Corporation


“To achieve the Chancellor’s ambitions of becoming a technology superpower and a world leader in AI, it’s important for the government to set the tone when it comes to investment and support for research institutions, businesses, industry experts and the education sector to foster collaboration. The innovation initiatives build well from the AI Safety Summit last year in establishing the UK’s credentials around AI innovation, promoting AI research and collaboration to advance technology and skills across the UK.”

“AI enhances business tools in vital areas such as data analysis, forecasting and customer experience, greatly improving efficiencies in business operations. However, to maximise the benefits that AI can bring, it is important for businesses to train their staff and promote trust around AI and its usage. For example, putting up guardrails to ensure training information does not compromise customer data, helping staff to operate AI tools more confidently and serve customers more effectively.”

“The Chancellor’s investment plan is a welcome sight for businesses, but this should ideally be followed up with further initiatives and support to advance the UK’s global AI standing. The UK currently ranks behind the US, China and Singapore according to an international AI league table, highlighting that there is still plenty of room for further innovation. AI can truly supercharge a business if applied with the right strategy, fuelling the economy, and additional support and collaboration from government and educators can have a big impact.”


Dr Henry Balani, Global Head of Industry & Regulatory Affairs at Encompass Corporation


“It is clear that innovation, especially in areas such as  Generative AI, presents vast possibilities for furthering the UK’s technology drive, so it is positive to see the Chancellor doubling down on commitment to investment in this area in the Spring Budget.

“Particularly in the RegTech space, AI tools have the potential to benefit compliance teams and Know Your Customer (KYC) analysts working to help detect and prevent financial crime. Considering financial services, Generative AI, especially, undoubtedly offers potentially exciting benefits to banks and financial institutions, however we must remember that it will not replace the KYC analysts at the heart of these processes – now or in the foreseeable future. It will instead accelerate existing processes and augment the work of analysts, empowering them to detect financial crime risk more quickly and comprehensively.

“To maximise Generative AI’s impact and value, banks must ensure they have robust digital and automated processes in place to optimise the quality of data collated and uncover deeper customer insights. By laying this groundwork today, banks will be well positioned to take full advantage of this technology as it continues to evolve and mature.

“Government investment and prioritising powering innovation in key areas such as AI and Generative AI will be crucial to furthering the UK’s ambitions of being a technology superpower, and I hope to see this focus continue to benefit FinTech and wider industries.”


Simon Ward CEO and Founder at Inspired Thinking Group (ITG)


“This funding is a major boost for the UK’s rapidly growing technology industry and will play a crucial role in tackling digital skills shortfall which has long hampered the potential of UK PLC.

“With generative AI, automation and chatbots reshaping traditional working models, getting access to staff with the latest skills and spreading this knowledge across the workforce is vital for organisations seeking to maintain a competitive edge. Economies that embrace and optimise the latest digital capabilities will thrive in the long term, those that fail to do so will inevitably fall behind.”


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Scott Lewis, SVP at Ataccama


“Boosting AI investment should be a top priority for the government. Technology advancement is fuelling data creation in all areas of everyday life, in business and academia, and that data can provide valuable insights to help solve challenges and drive innovation. AI tools accelerate data analysis and cleansing, transforming it into good quality, governed data which is critical for trustworthy AI outcomes. Generative AI can then facilitate queries, insight mining and content creation from that data to address issues, apply learnings or help organisations reach their objectives. The UK has a strong history of innovation and this investment is an important milestone in maintaining our lead in emerging technology.”


Ryta Zasiekina, Founder & Co-CEO at Concryt


“Jeremy Hunt’s £100 million pledge to develop AI in the UK is a positive step, but investment must also prioritise cybersecurity to protect critical systems. Additionally, environmental concerns should be addressed, ensuring AI advancements are sustainable. Hunt aims to elevate Britain’s tech status, but efforts must consider cybersecurity and environmental sustainability alongside innovation. While the investment promises benefits like improved healthcare, a holistic approach is needed to ensure balanced and sustainable progress in AI development”.


Sarah-Jayne van Greune, COO at Payen & ILIXIUM


“The levelling up investment is welcomed but we need to see this come to fruition. In the last budget, Jeremy Hunt promised an additional £500m investment in artificial intelligence to ensure the UK is an AI powerhouse. In addition, the government’s AI Whitepaper announced the allocation of £80m to establish nine new AI research hubs. Yet, as Teck UK rightly pointed out, limited details have been published on where these hubs will be located. It’s also a shame that a large share of investment in locations in The North-East trailblazer deal was very focused on areas that are near London. Yet, places like Leeds, Manchester, Bristol and Glasgow also need an ongoing stream of investment.

“The UK industry has many tech and business pioneers spanning the country. And with access to the right funding, will be able to create solutions that will drive the governments long-term growth plan beyond expectation. If investment and support aren’t distributed equally, that goal may not be achievable as some of the brightest members of society won’t have the tools to bring their ideas to life. Ultimately, equality in investment will, in turn, ensure that the Chancellor can put the UK on the path to becoming the next Silicon Valley.”


Chris Reed, Executive Marketing Director at Protectline


“The Spring Budget reflects a hopeful vision for innovation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the UK. The emphasis placed on research and development (R&D) proposes a brighter scenario for emerging technologies, particularly AI. Looking closer at the budget, there’s a commitment to growth in AI. The increased allocation for R&D tax credits, will hopefully have significant implications for businesses like ours. It will enable companies to invest more in advanced technologies, fostering a conducive environment for innovation.

“This investment in AI and innovative technologies represents a timely response to the global digital race. In allowing tax relief on capital spent on R&D, the government shows foresight in recognising the transformative potential of AI. Championing this path forward, the UK positions itself as a leader in the AI landscape. Importantly, the budget also demonstrates an understanding of the challenges associated with AI. The proposed budget for digital skills training signifies the importance of human capital in realising AI’s potential. Consequently, this investment will not only empower the workforce of tomorrow but will also equip them to adapt to an AI-driven economy.

“Despite these progressive strides, there are areas that warrant caution. It is crucial for the government to ensure the benefits of AI advancements are evenly distributed across society. We must avoid any risk of inequalities being exacerbated by rapid technological progress. The implementation of these policies requires meticulous planning and execution. The public and private sectors must collaborate effectively to ensure that these plans translate into tangible outcomes.

“In conclusion, the Spring Budget has several promising implications for AI and innovation in the UK. It’s important for us to remain vigilant and proactive in creating an inclusive and forward-thinking economy. Let the budget serve as a prompt for thoughtful action in educating our workforce, advancing our technologies, and setting a global example for innovation.”


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