Sage Urges Government to Ramp Up Digital Economy

Technology giant Sage has called on the Government to tackle the UK’s productivity crisis by accelerating moves to a digital economy. The Tyneside firm, which sells a number of products to help small and medium-sized businesses to digitise their operations, has launched a Blueprint for Digital-led Growth which it says could help add £232bn to the country’s economy.

The report comes amid the closure of the Government’s Help to Grow: Digital scheme, which offered advice and financial support for companies on how technology could help their business. The next phase of the Making Tax Digital programme has also been delayed.

Ramp Up Digital Economy
Sage said that investment by UK small and medium sized businesses was below the European average, and that other countries have introduced measures aimed at increasing productivity and digital uptake among smaller firms. The company’s report outlines a number of measures to help small businesses overcome the initial cost of adopting more technology, including the establishment of a Small Business Digital Growth Fund to incentivise investment in productivity enhancing technology.

It also wants the Government to make it easier for small businesses to get access to data held on them by third parties, and to ensure that regulation of AI does not make it too complex for smaller businesses to use the technology. Steve Hare, CEO of Sage said: “SMBs are ready to embrace the power of technology to grow their businesses. We welcome plans for the Global Summit on AI and encourage government to set out an ambitious and joined up approach to digitalise the economy so all UK businesses can benefit from technology.

“As the UK Government strives to be a tech superpower, meet net zero targets, and enable home-grown businesses to compete internationally, it is essential SMBs are supported on this journey. Our Blueprint offers an achievable plan to help deliver this.”

The report has been backed by Darren Jones, chair of the Commons Business and Trade Committee. He said: “As technology continues to evolve rapidly, Sage’s Blueprint for Digital-led Growth reminds us of the need to empower SMBs to adopt digital tools. With signs of business investment beginning to slow down, the Government must act to incentivise the adoption of productivity-enhancing technology, ensuring that the UK remains competitive and accelerates economic growth.”

Cobalt Business Park based Sage – which provides technology in HR and payroll as well as its long-standing expertise in accounting and finance – has set out to position itself as a champion of the small and medium-sized companies that make up most of its customer base. It said that smaller firms were outperforming the rest of the UK economy but rising overheads and inflationary pressures meant that many were scaling back on investment in areas such as technology.

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