The Treasury will soon set out more details on tech visas and launch a £7bn fund for apprenticeships, with much of that set to benefit UK fintechs.
Speaking at Fintech Week, John Glen MP, economic secretary to the Treasury, said that the government is engaging with industry as it designs the scale-up visas, first announced in the Budget, and will hopefully set out details on these by July.
Glen said Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s £7bn apprenticeships fund, also announced in the Budget last month, will launch in July.
He said this will look at a more portable approach to apprenticeships which he believes will have a direct application to fintechs.
“The scale-up visas suggested in the Ron Kalifa Review is something we’re taking forward,” he said.
“I meet with chief executives of fintech companies frequently and have met almost 60 now and from those conversations I get that challenge.
“I think 42 per cent of workers in fintechs are from overseas and 49 per cent are one of the founders and that demonstrates the international connectivity that underpins this industry and will continue to do so.
“Another thing that is important is the approach to apprenticeships. In the skills chapter of the review there is an aspiration to look more flexibly at how apprenticeships and the number of fintech apprenticeships can grow.
“We need to recognise the way people are rewarded are often stakes in rapidly growing business and need to find the right flexibilities to incentive people and provide discernible mentoring and skills investment so people can be ensured they are gaining something worthwhile and portable in the early stages of their career.”
Glen also said that it’s important to facilitate better stronger relationships where talent can move around different hubs around London.
He said that regulatory cooperation between countries is important and the government is working at the export academy to provide practical one-to-one support for fintechs and help them with their overseas markets.
Glen said he hopes through the Kalifa Review into fintech, the Lord Hill review of the UK Listings Regimes, the Treasury working together with urgent timing and conversations with the Financial Conduct Authority, the UK we can open up new pathways for investment.
“We have 600 propositions across the UK in the fintech world, not all will be unicorns, but I don’t want access to finance to be an impediment to that,” he said.
“We do have more unicorns than anywhere other than the US and China and I want us to be chasing them and maximising their potential. That’s the context of the work that will now go on as we try and recognise the ambitions that exist in the sector.”