Thursday 12 March 2020 4:04 am

The Budget has recognised the potential of UK fintech

Charlotte Crosswell is chief executive of Innovate Finance.

All eyes were on the chancellor yesterday, as he delivered his first Budget against a challenging backdrop for the UK’s economy and health system alike.

The focus was very much on backing the NHS, supporting small business, and boosting infrastructure spending across the country — and rightfully so, given the circumstances. We’ve also seen vital investment going into our country’s R&D, technology and life sciences.

Equally important, however, was a piece of the puzzle that will make a huge contribution to our country’s long-term growth. Rishi Sunak set out plans for a major independent review of the UK fintech sector — a move that Innovate Finance has long called for.

Over the last decade, fintech has become a critical component of our economy. It is a national story: London may be the protagonist, but other characters — from Leeds and Manchester, to Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast — have played a key part.

Britain has built upon its historical pedigree as a leading hub for financial services. The introduction of technology has transformed this landscape, accelerating the UK’s role even further.

We’ve seen record levels of investment in the sector. This has led to new services being created, more consumer choice, and increased value in the market. The UK now stands as the global leader in fintech — and we now have the unique opportunity to build on our successes.

We are at a crucial moment in fintech’s development. Our companies are now entering a phase of maturity that requires action to ensure that entrepreneurs can continue to establish and scale their businesses at home, and export their products and services internationally. 

There is a clear opportunity for the government to set the parameters for UK fintech to remain competitive on the global stage. By better understanding the needs and key focus areas for the sector, we can boost the industry and in turn support the economy as a whole. This will bring benefits not just in London and the south east, but to those vibrant fintech hubs across the UK.

By investing and laying the groundwork for the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs, we are creating opportunities for the fintech leaders of the future, who will become ambassadors for the UK’s global growth.

Innovations in financial services have the immense potential to transform lives, driving prosperity for the entire population. 

Fintech has already shown that it has the capacity to promote financial inclusion and create greater transparency in financial operations. New technologies are improving access to affordable credit, reducing the cost of payments, and providing new data-intuitive approaches in how we interact with financial products and services.

It’s vital that we recognise the scope of opportunity for the sector. It has the potential to benefit underserved individuals, businesses and wider communities across the UK.

This sector review is precisely what the industry needed, and the government has answered the call. Now it’s important to collaborate on the best courses of action, and together create a comprehensive blueprint for future growth and stability.

Main image credit: Getty

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