East London to become international Tech City

By Rachel Hand topicIcon Internet News

Major investments

Prime Minister David Cameron is set to give a speech later today that will outline his vision for a UK version of Silicon Valley. In an effort to revive the economy, East London is to see major investment in order to become a centre of technology and innovation, currently nicknamed Tech City.

The plans focus on East London's Olympic Park, which will be used as office space after the 2012 games, stretching to Old Street in Shoreditch. Some major investors include Google, which will be building an Innovation Hub for its researchers, and Facebook, which has promised a new home for its Developer Garage scheme. BT, Cisco, Intel and McKinsey & Co are also said to be planning to invest, while universities including Loughborough and Imperial College London hope to be involved.

The implications

In order to make the PM's vision a reality, there are several other changes on the horizon that are already attracting press comment. The Guardian reports that Cameron has been influenced by Google to re-assess the UK's intellectual property laws, deemed "far more restrictive than the US".

In addition, Cameron will reveal plans to introduce an entrepreneurial visa. The Telegraph quoted the PM as saying, "if you have a great business idea, and you receive serious investment from a leading investor, you are welcome to set up your business in our country". The Guardian commented that recipients of this visa, as well as intra-company staff transfers, "will be exempt from the permanent immigration cap to be introduced in April".