Are you watching EU? UK takes veiled swipe as London secures huge investment in 2020

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The latest report from Dealroom.co and London & Partners revealed companies founded in the UK tech capital helped Europe reach record levels of VC funding last year. Ahead of Brexit and the country’s full departure from the European Union, London received more tech VC investment than any European city in 2020. The capital managed to brush aside fears around the global coronavirus pandemic and exit from the EU, with tech firms raising £7.6 billion in 2020.

This is significantly more than the total raised in both 2017 (£5.1billion) and 2018 (£4.3billion) and was just short of the record £7.8billion raised in 2019.

The latest figures also show that 2020 was a record year for VC funding into the tech sector in Europe, revealing companies raised £31.4billion.

But London was at the heart of this huge growth spurt, with its tech firms accounting for a quarter of all European tech funding.

The Department for International Trade has revelled in this new-found success, and took a cheeky dig at Europe when announcing the news on Twitter.

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Sharing the report of the figures from the uktech.news website, the Government department tweeted the caption: “London received more tech VC investment than any European city in 2020, new data from @dealroomco & @londonpartners shows.

“Read how companies like @RevolutApp & @octopus_energy helped the UK capital attract $10.5bn.

“Trade = investment = growth.”

The UK finally completed its full departure from the EU when the end of the agreed 11-month transition period with Brussels expired.

Both sides had spent most of 2020 locked in negotiations over a post-Brexit trade deal.

The prospect of an agreement had looked unlikely at times, as the negotiating teams traded bitter blows over each other’s stances on key red lines that resulted in repeated stalemates.

Failure to agree a deal would have seen the UK reverting to terms set by the World Trade Organisation.

This would have seen hefty tariffs imposed on products leaving the country and coming in from the EU.

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But Boris Johnson has continued to insist Brexit Britain can flourish outside the EU with its new-found sovereignty and trading powers and has been quick to reassure UK businesses over their future prospects.

On Monday, the Prime Minister told 30 leading chief executives he will seize “the opportunities of Brexit” and use Britain’s new regulatory freedoms to help boost a UK economy that has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Johnson was chairing the first meeting of the “build back better” business council, which aims to rebuild strained relations between Number 10 and corporate Britain following the pressures felt in the lead-up to Brexit.

People on the video call were told by the Prime Minister the Government would form a partnership with the private sector to revive the economy.

He insisted the UK’s departure from the EU would enable the country to draw up new rules to accelerate the development of new economic sectors, with significant investment in skills, infrastructure and innovation.

Downing Street said: “The Prime Minister outlined the need to seize opportunities of Brexit, support job creation, cement the UK’s position as a science superpower, deliver an upgrade to infrastructure and launch a green industrial revolution.”

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