Google Campus opened by Chancellor George Osborne

Google Campus offices The Google Campus will house newly established technology start-ups

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The UK will become the "technology centre of Europe", Chancellor George Osborne has vowed.

He was speaking at the opening of Google Campus, a new centre offering desk space and mentoring for technology companies.

Mr Osborne said Campus was part of a wider effort to "create the next generation of British technologies".

However, some UK start-ups outside of the capital have accused the government of being too London-centric.

Google's Eze Vidra described the opening as a "transformational moment for the UK start-up community".

Campus is situated in the Old Street area of east London, an area dubbed the Silicon Roundabout.

The new building incorporates existing co-working space TechHub, which has now moved out of its original premises.

On the building's sixth floor is SeedCamp, an early stage investment programme which puts cash into about 20 fledgling technology companies a year.


Mr Osborne said the work between Google and the government's Tech City initiative was the first of several partnerships needed to give the sector sufficient support.

Start Quote

This is the path we need to take to create new jobs”

End Quote George Osborne Chancellor

"This partnership model is absolutely in line with our approach to Tech City," he said.

"The government doesn't believe you can click your fingers and create a technology cluster. Wherever possible, our approach is to go with the grain of what's already happening."

He said that since the Tech City initiative was launched in 2010, the number of technology firms in the area had risen from 200 to 700.

Further plans to bring research and development companies to the area would mean the UK remained at the "very cutting edge of innovation", the chancellor said.

"We want the UK to become the hub for technology in Europe as a whole.

"This is the path we need to take to create new jobs, new growth, and new prosperity in every corner of this country."

The North

However, while the Silicon Roundabout area is recognised as the UK's biggest start-up hub, it is by no means the only cluster of firms in the country.

Some technology companies, particularly those in the North, feel that the government should take steps to avoid projects like Tech City acting in isolation.

"We're an incredibly weightless industry, so a single location seems counterintuitive," said John Hart, communications manager for Sunderland Software City, an industry body supporting tech start-ups.

Stephanie McGovern takes a tour of Google's Tech Campus in London

"In the North East we're really strong on business support technology, and renewable industry, so there's real opportunity for the government to connect those opportunities more than they are doing at the moment."

However, Martin Bryant, managing editor of The Next Web, said emerging hubs must prove themselves before big firms would begin to move in.

"I'm not at all disgruntled or annoyed that Google would set up in London," he told the BBC.

"It makes perfect sense. It's where all the investment is.

"I think what the North has to do is earn its chops in terms of credibility. The North needs to do something for itself before Google comes along."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 87.

    How nice for people like Osborne to be able to take time out to spew more froth and hot air. Osborne, get back to your desk with your hapless colleagues in government and sort out our growing economic woes, including the panic caused my Maude over the fuel shortages. We need leadership not empty posturing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 86.

    The last 5 years of my career were spent as a member of a 36 man network software team based in the UK. 2 years ago, 95% of the work was outsourced to India and only the hard-bits remained in the UK. Only 3 people are left in the UK, the rest of the team has either retired or taken redundancy.
    I know of several other teams that suffered a similar fate. The omens in this area are not good.

  • rate this

    Comment number 85.

    "This partnership model is absolutely in line with our approach to Tech City,"

    We invent the technology.
    The Americans develop it.
    The Japanese make money out of it.

    I would hazard a guess that GO did not have the faintest idea of what he was being shown. Probably a "Jolly Good... carry on" and Foxtrot Oscar.

  • Comment number 84.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 83.

    the underlying issue is some of the students coming out of the universities do not have a basic understanding of English or Maths irrespective of how technologically advance their thinking is. with all the LOL's and IMHO's ROFL'S going around it just shows we will soon start speaking acroymns than proper english words. parents need to support their kids development and schools need to up the game

  • rate this

    Comment number 82.

    "Be fair, mate - outside the M25 is either Scotland or Wales"

    Inside the M25 certainly isnt English.

  • rate this

    Comment number 81.

    "technology centre of Europe"???

    But this just providing cheap office space and cheaper labour to big American tech companies...

    How about actually investing in some BRITISH start-ups, Mr Osbourne?

  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    ICT teaching is not crap - but the curriculum leading to GCSE is. Unless we get children to create within ICT and use ICT to deverlop new programs and apps we're scuppered. No amount of government rhetoric will do this unless they support teachers and LISTEN!

    (ps. country still is furious with the scaremongering over petrol by DC)

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.

    Was it Harold Wilson or perhaps Tony Benn who said the UK would expand through the White Heat of Modern Technology?
    We had a manufacturing base then, and whilst I know we are very good at a few things we are also very poor at most things these days. Perhaps it's because so much has been sold abroad by politicians who lack the courage to stand up for the UK and the British.

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    This reminds me on an episode of the Simpsons where education becomes sponsored by big business.
    The teacher asks a pupil: "If you've got 3 colas and add another 2 colas, how much are you refreshed?" Pupil (reluctantly): "Cola?"

    Not of course that the covernment would want to help out their friends in big business, unless of course they are already billionaires.

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    44 Minutes ago
    London London"

    Be fair, mate - outside the M25 is either Scotland or Wales.

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    72.Matt Marshall
    Am I naive thinking things may be taking a turn for the better?
    Not entirely. However, Google is doing the whipping & not a sole UK push towards oustanding investment. So long as this duality of investment continues, at this level, the UK will ALWAYS be the 'Frank Whittle Jet Engine' of the innovation world. Sold out to a 3rd party, as if an after thought.

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    Irony is that Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) just handed out redundancy notices to a fair chunk of its staff.

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    We need more scientists and engineers in government. Any takers?

    Nah, me neither.

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    Well, we won't be the technology centre of Europe with R&D spend of less than 2% of GDP...while countries like China, India and Brazil target more like 2.%%, expand research in the universities, enhance tax treatment of R&D investments and encourage R&D relocation from Europe...will we? Still 'trickle down' economics will work, undoubtedly! Let's cut the tax rate for top bankers to 0.5%!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    @64. Archimedes Screwed

    Has this been recognised (by the government most importantly)? If so, surely it's better late than never, right?

    I'm positive because I see more and more articles about the government investing in broadband, recognising that ICT teaching is crap, seeing a future for Old St and Cambridge start-ups etc. Am I naive in thinking things may be taking a turn for the better?

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    "This HYS may as well be titled "Do you like Labour and hate the Tories?"

    Mr Osbourne has chosen to associate himself with this event for political propoganda reasons. It is not unreasonable for his political ineptitude and hypocrisy to be referred to here.

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    As a tech start up whose work has been greatly recognised by some large household tech companies.

    I feel that the UK is not a good environment to support small companies with innovative ideas. It's simply to expensive to start up at the same time it's really difficult to obtain funding to take such risks.

    In the future we hope to move out of the UK to somewhere like silicon valley.

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    Osbourne vows, Cameron pledges; which is the most compelling, a vow or a pledge?

    59. Read #9 - He or she was there. But I accept that the pathetic British public is out of step and should take every political statement at face value. After all, they aren't doing it just to be popular; spin doesn't exist; Not still at junior school by any chance?

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    Any opportunity to spout socialist dogma (rubbish speak) gets a voice on these pathetic BBC blogs, unbiased I do not think so or maybe all the Tories are out working and not wasting their collective time blogging. Go back home go to night school and get yourself a proper eduacation PLEASE


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