Almost half of Members of Parliament (MPs) don’t know what Tech City UK is, according to a poll.
The Parliamentary Snapshot Survey, commissioned by cross-party think tank The Entrepreneur Network, revealed that 48 percent of the 105 MPs surveyed haven’t heard of the government-funded Tech City UK organisation.
Tech City UK was set up in 2010 by prime minister David Cameron in a bid to champion and support London’s technology sector. Its remit has now been expanded to support the technology sector across the whole of the UK.
Many people have struggled to grasp what Tech City UK does, including 13 percent of MPs who said they had heard of it but weren’t sure if it had been effective.
Meanwhile, four percent of MPs believe the organisation, which is funded with approximately £1.7 million of taxpayer’s money, has had no impact.
But Tech City UK appeared to be pleased with the results of the survey. Katy Turner, the organisation's chief marketing officer, said: "The Parliament Snapshot survey revealed that over half of the UK’s MPs have heard about Tech City UK. This provides a strong indication that the work of Tech City UK is being recognised across the political spectrum. Britain’s technology sector is a shining example of the UK’s growth story and we continue to work closely with all political parties and the digital community to accelerate the growth of Britain’s digital economy."
MPs were also unaware of many schemes and initiatives that the coalition government has implemented to support entrepreneurs.
For example, two-thirds (66 percent) had never heard of the £100m government-backed Angel CoFund investment scheme, while half were also ignorant of the government’s GrowthAccelerator business support initiative.
Forty-two percent of MPs also admitted they didn't know about the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS), a major series of tax breaks designed to encourage investment in SMEs.
The survey also revealed the differences in opinion between Conservative and Labour government when it comes to supporting entrepreneurs.
Tory MPs were in favour of reducing personal income tax in a bid to help entrepreneurs while Labour MPs were more in favour of boosting spending on grants loans, and support services.
The clearest difference in opinion came on Europe’s involvement in British business, where 91 percent of Tory MPs were in favour of exempting the UK from EU business regulation, compared to 15 percent of Labour MPs.
Both parties agreed that more money needs to be spent on closing the skills gap, with approximately 90 percent of MPs in favour of the policy.
Philip Salter, director of The Entrepreneur’s Network for whom the survey was conducted, believes the unfamiliarity with policies is worrying.
“As things stand, MPs don’t appear adequately informed to vote on future policy changes impacting entrepreneurs.
“Also, MPs should be familiar with these schemes so that they are able to pass on details to the many entrepreneurs they meet in their constituencies.”