Vince Cable has identified ARM as the only significant British technological company that has managed to circumvent the difficulties posed to promising tech startups due to weak backing from the financial sector and the government.
In the memo, the coalition government’s business secretary claimed that the success of ARM, a global leader in silicon chip design, was “the exception rather than the rule” in Britain’s digital industry, as the influence of nervous equity markets is forcing successful technology companies to sell up rather than grow organically.
The comments formed a small part of a much wider critique against the government’s industrial policy, with Cable urging David Cameron and Nick Clegg to actively back successful industries as “market forces are insufficient for creating the long term industrial capacities we need.”
In particular, Cable implored that policy should swing away from laissez-faire faith in the markets towards the state actively investing in the future of key technological industries, by backing STEM education for schoolchildren and turning RBS into a British Business Bank to provide secure finance for growing SMEs.
Whilst the memo has provoked a media storm, the STEM element of the message in particular is likely to receive a positive welcome from Silicon Fen where Raspberry Pi was created to tackle the issue and which was also the central topic at a recent Cambridge Network lecture by Peter Barron, head of external communications at Google.
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