The UK chip industry does not deserve £1 billion, say critics


The UK government’s £1bn package of support for the semiconductor industry has been criticised by some quarters, who say it is not enough to help the sector compete with rivals in the US and EU.

The government’s strategy, unveiled last week, aims to create a “world-leading” semiconductor industry in the UK by 2030. It includes plans to invest in research and development, skills training, and infrastructure.

The US and EU have announced billions of dollars of support for their semiconductor industries. The US has pledged $52bn, while the EU has drawn up a €43bn investment plan. These figures dwarf the UK’s £1bn package.

Critics say the UK government needs to do more to support the semiconductor industry to remain competitive. They say the funding should be increased, and the government should focus on attracting investment from overseas companies.

The government has defended its strategy, saying it is a “long-term plan” to help build a “world-leading” semiconductor industry in the UK. It says the £1bn funding will be used to support research and development, to train new workers, and to attract investment from overseas companies.

The government’s strategy is being welcomed by some in the industry. However, others say more is needed and that the UK needs to do more to compete with other countries. The semiconductor industry is a key strategic sector for the UK economy. It is used in various products, from cars to smartphones. The government’s strategy is essential in supporting it is still being determined whether the industry will adopt this. It will be enough to make the UK a global leader in the sector.

“The UK needs to invest more if it aspires to become a significant contributor in the global semiconductor industry,” he said. “The current package is not enough.”

Dr Simon Thomas, chief executive of UK-based graphene semiconductor start-up Paragraf, said the announcement was “quite frankly flaccid”.

According to him, more than the current efforts are needed to meet UK chipmakers’ demands. He suggests that the government should take further actions to encourage new technologies’ growth and draw in investments for the sector.

The government has defended its package, saying it is a “significant investment” to help the UK “build a world-class semiconductor industry”.

According to a government spokesperson, the UK has a successful history in semiconductors, and this investment will aid in further developing that success. They express their commitment to collaborate with the industry to secure the UK’s position as a prominent player in this crucial sector.

The government’s strategy includes:

  • Investing in research and development.
  • Creating a new semiconductor skills academy.
  • Supporting the development of new manufacturing facilities.

Whether the government’s actions will be practical package will be enough to help the UK catch up with its competitors. However, the sector is seen as strategically important, and the government is keen to support its growth.

The UK government’s £1bn support package for the semiconductor industry has received criticism. Below are the main areas of concern:

  • The funding needs to be higher. The US and EU have announced billions of dollars of support for their semiconductor industries. These figures dwarf the UK’s £1bn package.
  •  The government should take further steps to attract investment from overseas companies. The UK must compete with other countries to attract investment from overseas companies.
  •  The government’s strategy needs to be more ambitious. The UK needs to do more to become a global leader in the semiconductor industry.

The strategy will also increase the security of chip supply through international partnerships.

Recent pandemic-fuelled chip shortages disrupted supplies of products from games to cars, and critical manufacturing is concentrated in a few countries, such as Taiwan.

Peter Claydon, the president of Picocom, a chip design company based in Bristol, told the BBC it was good to have the strategy but said: “It’s not a lot of money.”

He wanted to see tax breaks used to support the industry and more emphasis on education to help supply the industry’s skilled professionals.

The government has defended its investment, arguing that it is a “significant” amount to help “level up” the UK economy.

 They have also said that the UK has several strengths in the semiconductor sector, including a robust research base and a skilled workforce.

The UK has made progress in the semiconductor the industry’s future is uncertain, and it is yet to be determined; it is enough to make it a global leader. The UK must invest more heavily in research and development and address its skills shortage to compete with international rivals.

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Marta Lopez

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By Marta Lopez

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