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by Sofia Villegas
18 January 2024
UK Chancellor to host panel with tech magnates at international meeting

The chancellor Jeremy Hunt opening the new Capital Group office in Paddington Square, London | HM Treasury

UK Chancellor to host panel with tech magnates at international meeting

Jeremy Hunt will host a panel with tech world leaders at today's World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Switzerland.  

Marking the first visit to the WEF annual meeting by a UK chancellor in five years, he will lead a discussion on the potential challenges and opportunities the UK faces in the technology sector. 

Hunt will be joined by Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft, Stéphane Bancel, chief executive officer of Moderna and vice-chancellor of the University of Oxford, Irene Tracey.  

With the UK’s tech industry valued at over $1 trillion – ahead of nations like Germany and France – the chancellor will strive to bring international inward investment to the UK.   

Hunt said: “We boast some of the best and brightest businesses in sectors of the future like digital technology and life sciences. It’s these areas of strength that are going to drive growth across the UK economy in years to come.”  

He will also take part in a panel named ‘Technology in a Turbulent World’, where participants will discuss the financial relief technology can bring.   

After the UK hosted the first AI Safety Summit at Bletchley Park last year, Hunt will also outline the UK’s approach to regulating technology.  

Amongst the top tech individuals to join him in this panel is Sam Altman, chief executive of OpenAI, and chief executive of Accenture, Julie Sweet.  

Albert Bourla, chief executive of Pfizer and Marc Benioff, chief executive of Salesforce, will also participate in the discussion.  

The chancellor will also meet with global chief executives to pitch the UK as a tech ‘superpower’ focusing on opportunities in areas such as AI and life sciences, including enhancing the running of cutting-edge trials.   

The UK tech sector already employs three million people and is home to 85,000 start-ups such DeepMind and Stability AI.  

The latter popular for its stable diffusion tools, which allow users to generate high-quality images based on prompts given to the system.  

This event is the latest of a string of efforts from the government to help the industry grow.  

The Autumn Statement made full expensing permanent. A tax relief for qualifying plant and machinery investments worth more than £50bn, which is hoped to prompt further investment.  

Existing research and development expenditure credit schemes were also simplified and improved to stimulate the sector to do more innovative research.  

Last May, the government also unveiled a £650m ‘life sci for growth’ package and an investment of more than £500m for medicines manufacturing over five years.    

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