Skyrora CEO Would Like to See the Space Sector Become a Higher Priority for UK Government

23rd May 2024
Skyrora CEO Would Like to See the Space Sector Become a Higher Priority for UK Government

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s announcement of a general election for 4th July has sparked significant interest in the business world and, in particular, the space sector. This election could potentially mark a turning point for the UK’s tech startup ecosystem, opening the door for a Labour government. The timing of this announcement has caught many by surprise since, in recent months, everything appears to be pointing toward Labour’s Keir Starmer becoming the next Prime Minister of the UK.

A rain-soaked Rishi Sunak confirmed the 2024 UK general election date outside 10 Downing Street on Wednesday afternoon, following a frenzied day of speculation in Westminster. Recent opinion polls show the Labour Party with a 22-point lead over the Conservative Party, reflecting a similar trend observed over the past year.

Could This Election Affect the Space Sector?

Both Labour and the Conservatives will be vying to secure the crucial business vote. Sunak may have timed his announcement to coincide with news of the UK’s decreasing inflation rate, but UK businesses are looking for much more progress and commitment.

In a pre-election survey of 546 UK small businesses, a significant majority (58%) of business owners expressed optimism, anticipating a positive impact on their prospects with a change in government in 2024. Only a small fraction (9%) held a negative view. These business owners’ perspectives could potentially shape the outcome of the election.

Volodymyr Levykin, the CEO and Founder of Skyrora shared his insights with Startups on the potential impact of the UK general election on the tech startup ecosystem. Here’s what he had to say.

“Skyrora would like to see investment in the space sector on the list of any government’s priorities. The innovative and intensive nature of the industry means that we require support from all levels, in the form of public and private investment, to ensure that the UK is a world leader in space.

Unlocking space is key to unlocking a thriving economy and will also play an important role in the nation and its allies’ defense capabilities.”

Sunak’s Relationship with the Tech Sector

During the early stages of Sunak’s premiership, government relations with the tech sector were generally positive. The long-overdue formation of a dedicated science and technology department in February 2023 was universally applauded.

In March, the government played a crucial role in HSBC’s rescue of Silicon Valley Bank UK, preventing a potential crisis in the startup-focused bank that could have caused widespread damage to the ecosystem.

Additionally, the government’s AI Safety Summit held at Bletchley Park in November was largely considered a diplomatic success, although it lacked concrete commitments.

However, there is a growing sentiment that the tech sector is not always being heard. Recent changes to the R&D tax credit system have faced backlash in successive budgets. The government was forced to reverse its decision to raise the income threshold for angel investors, a move that disproportionately excluded women. Furthermore, efforts to curb legal migration have raised concerns that the tech sector will struggle to attract top talent.

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