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On Wednesday, Oct 27th, Chancellor Rishi Sunak introduced the Autumn 2021 budget, which included a slew of announcements, including tech-related expenditures.

The budget outlines how the UK government intends to promote the growth of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) capabilities, which were highlighted in the government's 'Build Back Better' manifesto released in March.

A reform of immigration to bring the world's best digital talent to the UK, a significant investment in upskilling and reskilling adults, a sizable amount put aside for the NHS, and tech-specific tax relief help are among the highlights for the tech sector.


The government has announced a revamp of the UK visa system in order to recruit the brightest scientists and technologists from across the globe, as well as a goal to streamline the visa process for everybody, in the hopes of spurring UK-wide innovation and employment creation.

Anyone who holds specific foreign awards, scholarships, or is enrolled in programmes for early promise would automatically qualify under a change to the Global Talent visa, which has previously been criticised for having a much too restrictive reach. It will also look at the Innovator visa, which would make it simpler for talented people to bring their innovative company ideas to the UK market.

"This [effort] is in the correct path," stated Paramjit Uppal, CEO and creator of AND Digital, in response to the criticism. "However, I believe that greater resources should be allocated to the development of software design and development abilities. The UK needs more qualified individuals who can design software and data solutions for all organisations — the gap between the demands of large and small, commercial and public sector organisations, and the availability of talent is the UK's single greatest competitive threat over the next 3-5 years."

A closer examination of the entire Budget reveals that an additional £138 million would be spent on in-demand technical and digital courses for adults, as well as £1.3 million in new technology to assist individuals in finding employment that fits their aptitude.

Given the "relatively low adoption of digital technologies and software compared to worldwide competition," the government will also assist small enterprises in adopting new technology. Small firms will be encouraged to invest in new technology to simplify procedures in areas such as eCommerce.

Public spending 

Every government department will have a real-term increase of roughly 3.8 per cent, amounting to an additional £150 billion.

Some of this money will almost certainly go to public sector pay for employees in the NHS, police, and other government agencies, however, Sunak has pre-briefed a £5.9 billion boost for the NHS, of which £2.1 billion is for IT modernisation - an area where it has been critically deficient for many years. It’s not news to learn that the local government has been in desperate need of digital transformation, but not quick to gain momentum.

What does this mean for Drupal?

Of course, it’s too soon to tell just yet. But it’s encouraging nonetheless. It’s promising for initiatives such as LocalGov Drupal, which aims to provide people with a better digital experience, improve service results, and save money. (In fact, we’re actively working with the local Government to make the distribution and installation of Drupal 9 easier for UK Councils).

What it seems to be, based on the announcement, is an excellent opportunity for the community to welcome younger devs. Because what’s good for the new generation of developers is inevitably good for Drupal:

Junior developers:

  • Bring passion and curiosity to their work
  • Are likely to be connected to newer trends and younger, more innovative networks
  • Can be more flexible in their learning and working ways
  • Can spot new solutions to old problems

Increasing spending and inviting new expertise into the field is certainly an exciting start.