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How will education businesses fare after the Autumn Budget 2017?

Education and skills were among the positives in the Chancellor's Autumn Budget Statement. Investment targets included mathematics and computer science – recognised as fundamental to the development of the UK workforce post-Brexit. There were also some positives for SMEs and EduTech in particular.

Schools and colleges will now be absorbing the implications of the new targeted funding to be directed into the sector. Fundamentally, the Government believes that the teaching profession needs to have much greater capacity to deliver in the areas of mathematics and computer science.

10 things you need to know

  • New funding initiatives are directed at bringing more mathematicians and computer scientists into the classroom.
  • A programme to develop new specialist mathematics schools is planned as are incentives for schools that can enrol more pupils into Core and A-level mathematics qualifications.
  • Education publishers will have noted the continuing emphasis upon Mastery of Maths – a programme devised around Asian-style maths teaching with 3,000 more schools being brought into the programme through the department’s subsidised teaching materials initiative.
  • Computer science is to have a dedicated national centre devoted to developing standards and teaching methodologies in this subject.
  • The new Technical (T) level qualifications to be taken forward in Further Education are also receiving additional financial support.

Businesses that see opportunities arising from these developments may find some help in other announcements made yesterday. SMEs, particularly in the technology sector, will find routes opening up to secure support.

  • Particularly notable is the decision to uplift the tax credit available for research and development funding. Whilst this 1% increase is directed at major companies with substantial turnover it also serves as a reminder that an entirely separate regime exists to support R&D activities in the SME arena.
  • Scaling up of businesses that look to move out of a start-up setting is fully recognised as an area in need of attention.
  • The UK lags behind the US in terms of mechanisms to help businesses transform business scale. The existence of a well-functioning market in funding for long-term business development (known has Patient Capital) has been a focus of Government attention for some time – a report on this area of investment activity was published in October.
  • So, the problem has been identified – resolving issues within the investment marketplace is now the priority. Sir Damon Buffini, Chair of the initial report is now tasked to review patient capital availability. The attention being given to the subject – along with a Government commitment to unlock £20bn of funding and with seed public funding of £2.5billion, assures this area of considerable attention in the coming months.
  • Finally the Enterprise Investment Scheme has been revisited. Investment limits into funds meeting the eligibility criteria have been doubled – knowledge intensive companies are expected to benefit.

If our expert education team can help you as you digest the implications of Budget 2017 on your business get in touch.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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