08:09 Monday 18th March 2013
Bigger Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
[P]AUL STAINTON: The Government must do more to push the Cambridge brand to help technology start-ups compete on the world stage. That’s what companies have told us this morning, as Cambridge prepares to welcome Vince Cable, the Secretary of State for Business this morning to the city’s first ever Business Week. Jeremy Cooke runs independent games developer Gameware Europe. (TAPE)
JEREMY COOKE: Vince Cable has a lot on his plate, obviously. But if we are to emerge as a major global powerhouse of digital creativity, then of course there needs to be investment in the digital creative sector. And right now there simply isn’t. There’s not a great deal going on in the UK to support the creative industries. (LIVE)
PAUL STAINTON: Well Donald McGarva is the CEO of Amino Communications, which is based in Swavesey. (TAPE)
DONALD MCGARVA: He seems to be talking a lot about these other clusters, when actually we’ve got one here that we could actually expand much much faster, and much more successfully as well. (LIVE)
PAUL STAINTON: Dr Andy Harter spoke to us earlier, the CEO of RealVNC, which is based in Cambridge, and one of the organisers of today’s event. (TAPE)
ANDY HARTER: This is the most significant technology cluster in Europe. There’s 1,500 companies, 53,000 people employed directly by it, and a current combined turnover of over £11 billion. (LIVE)
PAUL STAINTON: Well as we mentioned the Business Secretary Vince Cable is on the show this morning. Morning Mr Cable.
VINCE CABLE: Good morning to you.
PAUL STAINTON: First of all let’s take their points. Is enough being done for this industry? Is Cambridge itself, as a major hub in this sort of industry, being ignored?
VINCE CABLE: Well certainly not the latter. I come here quite frequently. I’m currently here with the local MP, Julian Huppert, who very well understands Cambridge’s importance. Certainly as a Government we recognise it is absolutely the key. This is our Silicon Valley in fact of the UK. It’s very successful as you’ve just heard. We’re talking about well over 50,000 people, 1,500 companies, high tech companies. It’s growing rapidly. And although we the Government is actually constrained in what we can spend, we’re putting a lot of money at the moment into technology support, as well as giving a attractive tax environment for people doing startups.
PAUL STAINTON: We heard from a couple of people earlier though that said Cambridge isn’t often mentioned that much. It needs to be higher on the Government’s list of priorities.
VINCE CABLE: Well that’s why I’m here, to make sure that we do give it the right kind of profile. I was here a few months ago. There are all kinds of things springing up in Cambridge, some of them around bio-science, some of them around electronic bay systems, I’m visiting Arm later this morning. It is a massive centre. As I say, if Europe has the equivalent of a Silicon Valley, it’s here, and we should advertise it more. There are bottlenecks, including for example the difficulty of getting more housing. And we’ve got to work together with the county and city councils to make sure all of that infrastructure is available.
PAUL STAINTON: What more can the Government do? Can they only facilitate, or can they take an active role in helping brand Cambridge, and pushing it forward as the UK’s answer to Silicon Valley, if you like?
VINCE CABLE: Well I’m happy to do that. I’m a graduate of the place as it happens, so I have a sentimental as well as a business interest in promoting it. And it is a great success story. And we do need to build on that. And I think more generally Britain does extremely well in knowledge based industries. We have, next to the United States, probably the best universities in the world. Many of them are now doing successful business spin-offs, which is really where the Cambridge experience started. And we should be doing a lot more to promote it. I totally accept that. ..
PAUL STAINTON: All we need now from the Budget is to kick start the economy Vince on Wednesday.
VINCE CABLE: Yes, well I’m obviously involved in discussions around the Budget. If I did know what was in it I wouldn’t be telling you anyway. No, we do accept that the economy has been struggling. The problems are very deep, and they go back to the financial crisis back in 2008/9, banks not working properly, the inheritance of a very large deficit in the budget. We’ve got to continue to work on those. So there’s no spectacular easy way out, because if there was one we’d have found it already.
PAUL STAINTON: But we could spend a bit more couldn’t we? We could spend a little bit more?
VINCE CABLE: Well that depends on how the Chancellor comes out when he’s done his sums. But yes, we’ve got to maintain this balance between dealing with the budget deficit, the continuing problem, but at the same time we’re giving the banks a possible stimulus to economic growth and recovery. I’m certainly looking forward to the latter. But today there is an announcement being made about the aerospace industry and other high technology industries. We’re going to continue to invest in those, and the Cambridge area will be amongst those that benefit from it.
PAUL STAINTON: Mr Cable, thank you for coming on this morning. Appreciate the chat.