Chancellor George Osborne was in London’s Tech City today to open a new Google Campus, which is now officially the largest purpose built space for startups in Europe.
Osborne’s team initially met with Eric Schmidt, now executive chairman of Google, two years ago to inform him about the Tech City initiative, and the campus is being touted as the first example of the government’s relationship with the internet giant.
“The way that Google has engaged with the east London technology community, and designed this campus to meet the needs of local entrepreneurs and tech companies, is absolutely exemplary,” said Osborne.
“If this building is designed to be a hub for entrepreneurs and innovators in Tech City, in turn I want the UK to become the hub for technology in Europe as a whole.
He added: “To borrow a phrase from Google – let’s fill this town, and this country, with start-ups.”
Google announced the plans for the campus at the Digital London event earlier on this month, where Matt Brittin, VP for northern and central Europe at Google, said that the seven story building might be the first of many, depending on its success.
“[We will look at running] events and education, trying a lot of things and finding out what makes the biggest impact,” said Brittin.
Osborne also took today’s opening as an opportunity to outline all of the government’s initiatives to support startups and technology in the UK, reiterating many points that were cited in his recent budget statement.
“We’re building a more competitive economy, which is why last week’s budget scrapped the temporary 50p income tax rate and cut the corporation tax rate to 22 percent by April 2014,” said Osborne.
“We’re also introducing generous tax breaks for animation, TV and video game production…a single tax break for creative content is going to support the growth of innovative technologies in east London and beyond.
“And of course, we also need the right digital infrastructure. So last week I also announced plans to roll out ultra-fast broadband and Wi-Fi in 10 of the UK’s largest cities, as well as funding for broadband in smaller cities too.”
The number of digital and technology companies in the Tech City area has increased from approximately 200 in 2010, around the announcement of the government’s initiative, to more than 700 today, according to Osborne.