Spring Budget 2024: announcements of interest to tech lawyers

March 7, 2024

The Chancellor has delivered the Spring Budget 2024. The key issues of interest to tech lawyers are set out below.

University spin-outs

At the Autumn Statement 2023, the UK government announced that it had accepted the recommendations in Professor Irene Tracey’s and Doctor Andrew Williamson’s independent review of university spin-outs. With the aim of helping boost commercialisation across the UK’s university sector, the government is taking forward implementation of the review’s recommendations. The government has asked universities to report on their spin-out policies by the end of May and has also begun consulting on the design of the new £20 million proof-of-concept fund to support universities and future founders to de-risk technology, and on a pilot approach to supporting the establishment by universities of shared Technology Transfer Offices.

Digital technology and AI
  • The government has made the following announcements:
  • Compute Access: the government is confirming that it will set out later this year how access to the UK’s public compute facilities will be managed.
  • AI Safety Institute Update: the government is providing a progress update on recruitment and safety testing.
  • AI Upskilling Fund Pilot: the government is announcing a new £7.4 million AI Upskilling Fund pilot that aims to help SMEs develop the AI skills of the future.
  • SME Digital Adoption Taskforce: the government is announcing that it will shortly be launching the Taskforce, which will investigate how best to support the adoption of digital technology by SMEs to boost their productivity.
  • Data pilots to support AI and data access: the government is introducing two new data pilots with the aim of driving high quality AI in education and improve access to data in adult social care for a total of £3.5 million, and confirming the design details of the data research cloud pilots announced last year.
  • Turing Institute: the government is announcing that it will invest up to £100 million in the Turing Institute over the next five years.

In addition, it has announced:

  • AI Document Processing: the government will utilise AI to reduce the need for manual scanning of paper documents through the introduction of Intelligent Document Processing technology in the administration of court cases.
  • Digital Jury Bundles: the government will provide the Crown Prosecution Service with £10 million additional funding for digitising jury bundles in the criminal courts, to reduce paper wastage and unnecessary trial delays. This aims to save up to 55,000 hours a year in court preparation time to enable reducing the length of trials.
  • Accelerating smart data schemes in energy and transport: following the announcement at the Autumn Statement 2023 that the government would seek to maximise the benefits from incoming Data Protection and Data Information Bill Smart Data powers, the government is providing targeted funding for consultations and calls for evidence to accelerate schemes in energy and transport.
Crypto-Asset reporting Framework

The government is launching a consultation to seek views on how best to implement the Crypro-Asset Reporting Framework and Amendments to the Common Reporting Standard. As announced on 10 November 2023, these changes will be made in time to ensure that information exchanges take place from 2027.

Creative industries

There were lots of announcements relating to the creative industries, but these did not include an update on the Video Games Expenditure Credit.