Jeremy Hunt to woo US tech firms on west coast tour

Jeremy Hunt will meet with technology and creative firms on the west coast of the United States as part of efforts to make Britain the “next Silicon Valley”.

The Chancellor will hold talks with tech giants including Microsoft, Amazon and Alphabet in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle as he seeks to boost investment in the UK.

His trip, starting on Wednesday, will also feature a speech to British senior tech leaders, entrepreneurs and investors to highlight the UK’s success in the region, according to the Treasury.

He will also hold a roundtable with representatives from the biggest video game companies.

Ahead of his trip, Mr Hunt said: “The UK is ideally placed to attract fast-growing companies; we have all the right ingredients to become the next Silicon Valley, and I’m going to be shouting about our strengths up and down the west coast of the United States.

“The UK tech industry makes a huge contribution to the economy – becoming the third in the world to achieve a one trillion dollar valuation last year – and we have created the most unicorn companies in Europe, more than France and Germany combined.

“I’m looking to build on these fantastic successes and increase investment that will bring more exciting jobs to our shores and grow the economy.”

The Chancellor, who is preparing to deliver his autumn statement on November 22, has put the technology sector, as well as creative industries, life sciences, advanced manufacturing and the green sector, at the heart of his plan to grow the struggling economy.

Artificial intelligence is one of the topics at the top of the British agenda at the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week.

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden, who is heading the team as Rishi Sunak skips the gathering, will use his address on Friday to call for countries to co-operate on the new technology, with meetings also due to be held with top tech companies during the American visit.

It comes as the UK prepares to host an AI summit in November, with the Prime Minister keen to establish a key role for Britain in harnessing and regulating the technology.