back to article Techies ask PM to 'prepare UK chip strategy as a matter of urgency'

Tech industry luminaries have politely asked the UK Prime Minister to pull his finger out when it comes to delivering a strategy for the future of the UK semiconductor sector, or it may not have one at all. In a letter [PDF] sent to the PM (Rishi Sunak at the time of writing), the IT pros point out that semiconductors are " …

  1. hoola Silver badge

    It depends on what they are trying to achieve

    And also on The Register we have:

    https://www.theregister.com/2023/01/20/foundry_revenues_cliff/?td=keepreading

    If the argument is that we need to have chip fabrication plants in the UK for security then maybe but it all depends on what they are making.

    Just have a chip fab is only part of the equation. Not all plants produce the same chips.

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: It depends on what they are trying to achieve

      Setting up a plant is one thing, another is having people that can make use of it.

      With UK poor wages, horrible public services, world highest taxes, claustrophobic housing, I am sure they'll find some experts who can work anywhere in the world ;-)

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: It depends on what they are trying to achieve

        Poor wages = more profit.

        Horrible public services - healthcare isn't provided by the company = more profit.

        World's highest taxes - for the little people maybe, for the rich... = more profit.

        Claustrophobic housing - not that different to parts of other countries, and better than some.

        1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          Re: It depends on what they are trying to achieve

          Claustrophobic housing - not that different to parts of other countries, and better than some.

          There is a conspiracy that says housing is limited so that people won't have space to explore their hobbies that could then turn into business and then challenge the rich.

          Also to keep up with the model - wake up, go to work, work, go to pub, come home, sleep, repeat. As this is making the rich the most money.

          1. Mike 137 Silver badge

            Re: It depends on what they are trying to achieve

            "There is a conspiracy that says..."

            Do you mean 'conspiracy theory' or is there actually a conspiracy to promulgate this argument?

            1. adam 40 Silver badge
              Pirate

              Re: It depends on what they are trying to achieve

              I agree with elsergiovolador

              So - it's now a conspiracy!

      2. Binraider Silver badge

        Re: It depends on what they are trying to achieve

        Why not also chuck in the highest energy costs in Europe; our high water costs; ludicrous land pricing, and planning permission that is a contradiction in terms with regards letting developers do anything. I do not disagree with the sentiment that UK's has to look to the high-value added sector to work. The conditions to enable this are grossly lacking; as are the supply chain of the skills needed to do it.

        Ill thought out measures like "compulsory study maths to 18"; tuition fees approaching par with the US; and dreadful conditions in primary & secondary teaching are only scratching the surface of the problems to address.

        There is no overnight fix; and decades of neglect are coming home to roost. When there's evidence of concerted action over an extended period, maybe one can get enthusiastic again.

        1. jmch Silver badge

          Re: It depends on what they are trying to achieve

          "I do not disagree with the sentiment that UK's has to look to the high-value added sector to work"

          the thing is....

          - every other country is also looking to increase their slice of the high-value-added pie

          - the low-value-added work still needs to get done.

          - you can't get any high-value work done if you don't have basic infrastructure in place.

          It's useless having thousands of bright university graduates who can design the best chips if there aren't the builders, plumbers and electricians to set up infrastructure, planners and architects to design everything and make sure it all works together, technicians to get the work done, competent teachers giving everyone their first steps, primary healthcare workers taking care of everyone.

          Assigning priority and status (and related decent salaries) only to high-value technology cannot work if *everyone else on the lower levels of the pyramid is treated like shit* which seems to be the current ethos in the UK.

          1. Binraider Silver badge

            Re: It depends on what they are trying to achieve

            Agree entirely. Infrastructure and trades are hopelessly undervalued, except to profiteer off.

            What are our schools & universities turning out today? Non-academic kids have virtually no access to hands-on training that would otherwise lead to them being tradesmen - a far better route for those types of individual than insisting on endless academic credentials that they are neither interested in or suited for.

            Or useless degrees in, for example, "Gender Studies", or "Leisure and Tourism".

            Nothing wrong with a management degree, or psychology; there are practical uses for both. But lets drop the pretention and properly support groups that lead to positive trade balance.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It depends on what they are trying to achieve

        If it was competitively priced, easy to source and as performant as the alternatives. I'd use the shit out of it.

        Nothing would make me happier than being able to build solutions that I can slap "Made in Britain" on.

        Britain used to be world famous for engineering and engineers. We still have the finest engineers in the world, but we have to use and implement foreign made tech.

        Sometimes I feel like Chief O'Brien on DS9 dealing with fucking Cardassian tech.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It depends on what they are trying to achieve

          What do you mean you don't have a second backup?!!!

          I am proud to say my employer's modus operandi is to have at least a second backup for anything major.

          This will never stop the money men trying to slash things in false economies. The risk is if "new" management come in with new fangled ideas to upset the cart. They do that, I'm off.

    2. NeilPost Silver badge

      Re: It depends on what they are trying to achieve

      … and do what with the chips ??

      Ship them to China/India/Taiwan/Turkey/Vietnam to the electronics factories as most of them here have already been long closed.

      Full supply and manufacturing chain.

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-35428124.amp

  2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Worry Not

    As soon as PM figures out how Infosys could make chips it will come home!

  3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    FAIL

    25 years too late

    Or maybe it should have been done when Harold (Mr Gannex and pipe) Wilson was PM back in the 1960's as part of his 'white heat of technology' revolution.

    1. 3arn0wl

      'Leave it to the markets'

      Has been the attitude of successive UK governments for the last 40 years - and probably since Wilson's time, really.

      ---

      The article might also have mentioned India, which seems to be putting a strategy in place.

      Herman Hauser has been very vocal on this issue - I see his name now though, and my immediate reaction is "Arm protectionism".

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: 25 years too late

      Only 25 years?

      Showing my age, I remember lack of technology strategy of the Thatcher government in the early 80’s. It took some pushing for the government to invest in the European research programme and then to actually support UK businesses (small or large) to apply for funding…

      The Conservative approach to the brain drain, caused by the lack of investment and uk business/government unwillingness to pay market rates, was to approach the US government and get them to restrict the awarding of visa’s to UK nationals wishing to work in the US (the main destination of UK technology experts).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 25 years too late

        One thing to note about the Government's technology strategy is that it's coming from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Other industries are covered by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. But it's digital innit, so...

        1. JassMan

          Re: 25 years too late

          "Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) had planned to publish a semiconductor strategy "in autumn 2022," the report authors noted, but this has still to put in an appearance."

          I always read DCMS as Digital Culture, Digital Media and Digital (in the other sense) Sport. Certainly not a department to produce anything about Technology.

          Not only is this government out of touch with how real people have to live on food bank handouts but it appears they wouldn't know the difference a chip to go in a computer and one to eat with a piece of cod.

          1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

            DTI

            In the days of Mrs T, it would have been the Department for Trade and Industry. Or, as Private Eye would refer to them... Department of Timidity and Inaction

      2. Binraider Silver badge

        Re: 25 years too late

        The effects of the Computer Literacy Programme delivered by the BBC was arguably one of the biggest boosts to UK employment through the 1990s. Tech moves but the ideals behind such programmes and the results they produced cannot be denied. What do we have now? GCSE Bitesize and League Tables.

        Looking at the wrong KPIs our civil service (and government) are.

        1. omz13

          Re: 25 years too late

          I remember that time very well, and it yielded me a nice career in computing. I’d say that such programmers were successful despite the government, who then and now, could not tell a computer from a box of eggs.

    3. Herring`

      Re: 25 years too late

      To a certain extent, it was.

      They had the National Enterprise Board which played a part in getting the Cambridge companies like Sinclair and Acorn off the ground. Acorn got the massive boost from the BBC involvement which allowed them and people like the Legend Sophie Wilson to step up and produce the Acorn Risc Machine processor which became ARM and here we are.

      I can't see it happening again as the country has long been run by arts graduates and/or people who work in The City - to whom the idea of investing in something that might pay off in 10 years' time is an anathema.

  4. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Deluded is as hubris advises and ignorance servers with arrogance delivering on empty promises

    Techies ask PM to 'prepare UK chip strategy as a matter of urgency’

    Oh, FFS, was there ever a more obvious case of the blind leading the blind. Such a request presupposes and expects that PM might actually know of someone, or know of someone who knows someone able to deliver on an urgent UK strategy, and he and the government of the Conservative Party and the members of Parliament in the Houses of Commons and Lords clearly haven’t a fcuking clue or baldy notion about either who to call or what to do about it for the greater good of more than just their sad pathetic sorry self-serving selves.

    And y’all know that is true fact despite what the crazies out there might say in a mad carping disagreement.

    1. wobball
      Pint

      Re: Deluded is as hubris advises and ignorance servers with arrogance delivering on empty promises

      Bloody hell, I understood that!

      You've dropped your crap ML bot mask for once AMFM1 and I applaud you for your relatively well expressed sentiments.

      Have a beer on me!

    2. annodomini2

      Re: Deluded is as hubris advises and ignorance servers with arrogance delivering on empty promises

      where is amanfromMars 1 and what have you done with them?

  5. NewModelArmy
    Meh

    Autumn 2022 Report DCMS Minister is.....

    For a report to be presented in Autumn 2022, then the minster in charge would at least have to have some semblance of competency.

    This is where the Tories have fallen down. Dorries was the DCMS minister. That is the Dorries who said :

    Channel 5 did well after privatisation (it was always privately owned),

    Channel 4 is funded by the government when it is funded solely by advertising etc.,

    and 95% of the population thought privatising Channel 4 was a good thing when the poll actually said the complete opposite.

    It is obvious since she has moved on that the government are lacking in such ministers with intellectual prowess and acuity who would solve the conundrum of IC design and fabrication plants.

    The UK is a small country, and the other entities involved (US, EU, China) have their act together already. The ship has already sailed.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Autumn 2022 Report DCMS Minister is.....

      That somebody like Dorries was the DCMS minister says all you need to know about the government's attitude and competence with anything that has a plug attached.

      Given the calibre of the current Cabinet, I rather imagine the PM has a mate or some distant relation (in India?) fishing for a cushy contract at the taxpayer's expense.

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Gimp

        Re: Autumn 2022 Report DCMS Minister is.....

        "with anything that has a plug attached"

        One can only assume it's of the Butt variety.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Autumn 2022 Report DCMS Minister is.....

          "One can only assume it's of the Butt variety."

          Rumours the Minister was seen trying to stick it in her elbow remain unconfirmed.

  6. Big_Boomer Silver badge
    FAIL

    Pointless

    We had a chip manufacturing infrastructure but then we left the trading block where the fabs are located and now we have to trade on the open market for chips. Yet another "win" for the dumbfcukery that Brexit has been shown again and again to have been. <sigh>

    As for competence and politicians, they seem to be mutually exclusive under our current electoral methods. All we end up with is people who are good at getting themselves elected. They mostly have little else to offer the nation and seem to be very much out of their depth in most aspects of government, other than lining their pockets of course.

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: Pointless

      As far as I remember Taiwan is not in the EU, so I think Brexit is orthogonal to this issue.

    2. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: Pointless

      @Big_Boomer

      "We had a chip manufacturing infrastructure but then we left the trading block where the fabs are located and now we have to trade on the open market for chips. Yet another "win" for the dumbfcukery that Brexit has been shown again and again to have been."

      elsergiovolador has already knocked over your stupid comment of fab location and brexit. But as for the fabs the EU look to fund, why would we want to import dirty, low paid jobs here instead of the higher value jobs? And why would we want to pay to have said lower value jobs come here?

      "As for competence and politicians, they seem to be mutually exclusive under our current electoral methods. All we end up with is people who are good at getting themselves elected."

      While the EU presidents are elected away from the voters and are just as bad if not worse

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Pointless

        >Brexit

        I note from the UK press that the Conservatives - the party that gave us “Brexit” but really wanted us to have an even harder “Brexit” has now effectively said Brexit was a big mistake and the main reason why the UK economy is currently doing so badly…

        > While the EU presidents are elected away from the voters and are just as bad if not worse

        Which given how quiet the elected politicians were on this matter over several decades, is exactly the way they wanted it to be…

        BTW don’t remember receiving any voting papers concerning the appointment of the UK PM….

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: Pointless

          @Roland6

          "I note from the UK press that the Conservatives - the party that gave us “Brexit” but really wanted us to have an even harder “Brexit” has now effectively said Brexit was a big mistake and the main reason why the UK economy is currently doing so badly…"

          Cant say I have seen that but I dont particularly follow the conservatives. Harder brexit would probably been a good thing I would think but thats my opinion. Since it was a cross party issue with remain/leave split within the main parties I am not sure a 'Conservative press' would necessarily capture the views of both parts of the party but I might be wrong.

          "Which given how quiet the elected politicians were on this matter over several decades, is exactly the way they wanted it to be…"

          I dont understand this statement. We voted for MEP's but the design of the EU is technocratic and to separate the politician from the voter. Thats why we got to vote for MEP's and not the important workings.

          "BTW don’t remember receiving any voting papers concerning the appointment of the UK PM…."

          And yet you have more democratic say over our gov than the EU. If we are going back to this argument I will revive the question- If our gov is so bad then how does adding another layer of bad gov improve things?

          1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Pointless - Not Only But Also

            "the PM (Rishi Sunak at the time of writing)"

            BURN\Another leadership change in the offing? - Oh No Not Again!

            1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
              Facepalm

              Re: Pointless - Not Only But Also

              BURN\Another leadership change in the offing? - Oh No Not Again!

              The Boris fan club is plotting - and the man himself has landed a £1million donation from yet another expat-Brexiteer - prepare for Boris 2.0. May be The Telegraph will publish the article by Zahawi which got pulled minutes after it was published the last time round

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: Pointless - Not Only But Also

                @Fruit and Nutcase

                "The Boris fan club is plotting - and the man himself has landed a £1million donation from yet another expat-Brexiteer - prepare for Boris 2.0."

                That is not something I want to read on a monday morning.

          2. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Pointless

            > but the design of the EU is technocratic and to separate the politician from the vote

            The design was decided by and agreed by the national governments, in the case of the uk, the Conservatives as led by Thatcher…

            Yes, we voted for MEPs but Westminster et al didn’t want them to have any real power anytime soon…

            > And yet you have more democratic say over our gov than the EU

            I’m not so sure given there was little democratic accountability for the lettuce - appointed by a selected few and then (thankfully) cast aside by the same few, who then stitched things up for the appointment of Rishi; who the pundits doubt the few will actually permit him to lead them into the next election…

            > If our gov is so bad then how does adding another layer of bad gov improve things?

            Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Catch is many, back in the 80s, thought (a future) EU et al would slap down the worst excesses of Westminster…

            As we are now seeing with the levelling up monies, Westminster is again making region aid political and a competition…

            As I’ve said before, the real problem is at Westminster not Brussels…

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: Pointless

              @Roland6

              "The design was decided by and agreed by the national governments, in the case of the uk, the Conservatives as led by Thatcher…"

              Not sure why you bring Thatcher into it. She turned against the political project. She supported the common market.

              "Yes, we voted for MEPs but Westminster et al didn’t want them to have any real power anytime soon…"

              Et al being the EU? And while the gov may have their desires the UK voted leave so I can only guess the people had a different view than the politicians.

              "I’m not so sure given there was little democratic accountability for the lettuce - appointed by a selected few and then (thankfully) cast aside by the same few"

              The same few? I am not sure about that since she won a leadership election and then the party replaced her with their desired winner. And they are likely to be voted out of the gov in the next election it seems. More accountable than the EU then.

              "Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Catch is many, back in the 80s, thought (a future) EU et al would slap down the worst excesses of Westminster…"

              And living through the EU it seems not. As before the referendum and after and seemingly resurrected, the very important question I asked is still short of an answer.

              "As I’ve said before, the real problem is at Westminster not Brussels…"

              Or both. Which is why it is important to ask how another layer of bad government on top of our bad government improves anything.

              1. werdsmith Silver badge

                Re: Pointless

                I knew as soon as I saw a Brexit comment that codejunky would appear having the usual conniption.

                Codejunky needs to calm down a bit and realise that such efforts to defend the mess that our uneducated and ignorant subclass have dropped us into is just revealing more desperation.

                Face it. Calm down, take a deep breath and deal with it.

                1. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: Pointless

                  @werdsmith

                  "Codejunky needs to calm down a bit and realise that such efforts to defend the mess that our uneducated and ignorant subclass have dropped us into is just revealing more desperation."

                  Really? So the comment crying brexit isnt the desperate ignorance but my repeating the same questions remainers have struggled with since the brexit vote is somehow the issue? Whatever helps you sleep at night.

        2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          Re: BREXIT wrong

          IMHO, far too many people believed the lies spread by Nigel 'mines a pint' Farage especially BOJO.

          We fell for it hook line and sinking without trace.

          It was no surprise to me that Nigel 'how many times did I fail to get elected as an MP' Farage was besties with that other lying behemoth... Donald 'I won a golf competition that I didn't even take part in' Trump.

          We were suckered just like large parts of the US numbskulls were with 'The Election was Rigged' and MAGA.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pointless

        How many members of the House of Lords are elected?

        1. BeefEater

          Re: Pointless

          Re: voting for the Lords.

          I think that is only the hereditary ones, there being a limited number of seats to be shared between the 100's (?) of possible candidates.

          It may be the case that there is a sub-set of the Bishops as well, but how they are chosen I don't know.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Pointless

            Ah, I see. Somebody other than the general public gets choose to which aristocrats take decisions on our laws. AFAIK the only other country that reserve places in its legislature for god-botherers is Iran. So that's all right then: plenty of democracy at work there. Add scarcasm to taste.

  7. Dr Fidget

    Boondoggle

    It'll be just another massive handout to a Tory part donor or one of the PM's chums. Later, it will turn out to be a massive failure/cock-up but, by then, Rishi won't be PM and we'll all be told to get over a minor bit of fiscal 'carelessness' by the Daily Mail etc.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Boondoggle

      Of course. The only strategy will be how to sell off the remaning chip companies to the highest bidder and how much cash can be diverted from that sale into the appropriate Tory pockets.

      1. pimppetgaeghsr

        Re: Boondoggle

        They better do it quick, those boomers running these companies want a retirement strategy as none of their big ideas have worked. Even Graphcore is going down the pan whilst their founders pocket millions.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Boondoggle

        What chip companies? Name on UK-owned chip manufacturer. For extra points, name one that Westminster could sell off to their chums.

    2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      IT Angle

      Re: Boondoggle

      You're forgetting that by the time it becomes a massive failure/cock-up, the tories will have been booted from power and replaced by labour...

      So the daily wails headline will lead something along the lines of

      "Labour cocks up Rishi's great plan" followed by 14 pages saying how badly labour sucks in comparsion to the glorious patriotic tory party that puts britains interests first

      Although lets face it... if the tory party came up with a policy of shooting everyone unemployed , the daily wail would be printing how wonderful this new policy is

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Boondoggle

        It's more likely the Daily Heil would be raging because the tories hadn't shot all the immigrants and asylum seekers before starting on the unemployed. And ranted about the impact on house prices. Obviously.

  8. localzuk Silver badge

    We already have one

    A chip strategy that is. You can get them in supermarkets frozen, or at your local chippie with copious amounts of salt and not quite vinegar.

    Or, you can make em at home!

    1. adam 40 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      The only question is...

      Haddock, or Cod?

      1. localzuk Silver badge

        Re: The only question is...

        Rather partial to scampi myself...

  9. codejunky Silver badge

    "The UK spent tens of billions of pounds itself last year... trying to recover from former PM Liz Truss' brief game of economic destruction."

    Eh? So much complaining over pro-growth policies. Yet without growth how does anyone expect jobs, public services, a working economy? Ah never mind lets just increase tax and cry.

    "Tech industry luminaries have politely asked the UK Prime Minister to pull his finger out when it comes to delivering a strategy for the future of the UK semiconductor sector, or it may not have one at all."

    Tech industry luminaries moan and winge to the gov (*insert all your glorious insults for the govs here*) instead of doing stuff they see as important? Most importantly we dont need to be building fabs here when there will be an oversupply of fabs in the world from Asia, the US and the EU.

    1. localzuk Silver badge

      Liz, is that you?

      You can count the number of people who thought Truss' policies were good on one hand. They forced us to the brink of recession in a month. Pensions almost collapsed. The BoE had to intervene to prop things up. Tax cuts for the rich? That isn't pro-growth. Its trickle down economics. And that has been repeatedly, thoroughly, debunked as nonsense. Sterling plunged to its lowest level against the dollar - meaning investors saw the UK as a giant risk. Not an investment opportunity.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        @localzuk

        "You can count the number of people who thought Truss' policies were good on one hand."

        Pro growth policies based on known economics instead of the preceding and continued hope and prayer managed decline?

        "They forced us to the brink of recession in a month"

        And the Japanese Yen? Or just the GBP? And you think in 2 weeks the plan under Truss brought the whole thing down and not the propping up since 2008 and recent covid blowouts including insanely low interest rates? Nope it must just be the pro-growth policies announced instead of the problem she intended to fix.

        "The BoE had to intervene to prop things up."

        Bad news for you. The BoE has been propping things up for some time, such as seriously low interest rates and funding the gov a lot of money. In fact the bill is coming due that the gov will need to repay the BoE with our money for the spending sprees that gave us this current economy!

        "Tax cuts for the rich? That isn't pro-growth"

        Are you sure? We currently have the highest tax's in decades and the laffer curve isnt theory but a fact.

        "Its trickle down economics. And that has been repeatedly, thoroughly, debunked as nonsense."

        Depending if you mean in actuality or the straw man that gets debunked. Otherwise you must have some seriously bad soviet era crap in your house.

        "Sterling plunged to its lowest level against the dollar - meaning investors saw the UK as a giant risk. Not an investment opportunity."

        All currencies have fallen against the dollar. Because the dollar is rising. The treasury hiked rates harder and faster than other countries and as a result have a stronger currency at the increased risk of a recession. The BoE didnt raise as hard nor as fast and so the GBP didnt rise with the dollar. For comparison-

        https://www.xe.com/currencycharts/?from=GBP&to=USD&view=5Y

        https://www.xe.com/currencycharts/?from=GBP&to=EUR&view=5Y

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Change of Tack in Brighter Directions of Rocky Roads Less Travelled

          Bad news for you. The BoE has been propping things up for some time, such as seriously low interest rates and funding the gov a lot of money. In fact the bill is coming due that the gov will need to repay the BoE with our money for the spending sprees that gave us this current economy! .... codejunky

          A change of news, codejunky. The BoE is a bankrupt Ponzi based institution which only continues to survive and fester because of its invention and support of debt and deficit disguised as future credit from next generational profits presumed to eventually be likely to appear and be realised for balanced accounting but which its conspiring government muppets and state-actor puppets have titanically spent and are still always wasting on further uncosted pipe dreams rendering further depressing expensive negative consequences ....... results to be spun as necessary belt-tightening austerity for the masses they are going to stick with their bills for bankrupt BoE Ponzi based institution repayment of malinvestment losses and criminal activity on a global scale which is all to be blamed upon foreign and alien events beyond their command and control even though all of the above is the result of ages of their command and control with media on hand as a willing whore to present support and reinforcement for their shenanigans. What an absolute shocker of a pathetic program that is.

          J'accuse.

          And the change of news? The government spent the BoE's currency/debts so the government can repay it. It aint rocket science although such common sense can certainly be tremendously explosive and sooner rather than later, Great Game changing whenever Special Advanced IntelAIgent Research Services invade and lay waste to those corrupt vulnerable places and the deep and dark spaces of ignorant virtual intrigue and arrogant venal greed.

        3. nsld

          Re: @localzuk

          Lol, no great surprise to see you fluffing the economic bin fire from the IEA clown convention there code junky...

          You probably think Jessop, Lesh and the rest of the IEA brexit Taliban are credible economists.

          The Truss disaster was the peak of the IEA supply side wet dream, it was dead on arrival because it had no economic credibility.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: @localzuk

            @nsld

            I see a lot of text but not much content. Guess you just needed to moan?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @localzuk

              Downvoted for total lack of self-awareness.

        4. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: @localzuk

          >pro growth policies based on known economics

          Economics is not a science. But following the lettuce’s logic, she should have taken all the wealth off the 2 percent, as this would have encouraged them to go out and create new wealth…

          > We currently have the highest tax's in decades

          Keep drinking the kool-aid. Taxes were much higher in the 70’s and 80’s, it didn’t stop people being entrepreneurial, just ask James Dyson…

          The “high tax” stuff is just b***ocks. If you found a company and it becomes successful - which is the exception among startups - there are plenty of tax breaks for you to personally do very well. The people whinging about taxes are those who want the trappings of success ie. Look at me I’ve got a yacht, chateau etc.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: @localzuk

            @Roland6

            "Economics is not a science"

            Guess it depends which end we look at. For predicting what will happen it is a bit like astrology, tarot cards and climate science. For understanding how changes affect the economy it does discover how actions affect the economy.

            "But following the lettuce’s logic, she should have taken all the wealth off the 2 percent, as this would have encouraged them to go out and create new wealth…"

            Not sure where you get your straw man from.

            "Keep drinking the kool-aid. Taxes were much higher in the 70’s and 80’s, it didn’t stop people being entrepreneurial, just ask James Dyson…"

            You even quoted me saying 'in decades'. A decade is 10 years. The 80's would be 1980's, currently it is 2023 so 2023-1980 = 43. How many in the tens column? 4 decades. (Guessing its a bit late). And according to the Taxpayers Alliance its a 70 year high (using 5 year averages so take it or leave it).

            And yes back in the 70's and 80's tax was higher and is that the time of the massive improvement to our lives? How were things back then economically? So while there was economic activity there was more and a great improvement to our lives by not taxing until the pips squeaked.

            "The people whinging about taxes are those who want the trappings of success ie. Look at me I’ve got a yacht, chateau etc."

            I feel dumber just reading that sentence. Almost like it is a vacuum to rational thought. People complaining about tax because it interferes with them spending their own money that they earned. And of course in this country the rich, globally. As in we earn vastly more than most of the world. Why on earth are you buying a computer, phone, central heating, car, etc when you should be paying more tax. Thats just garbage.

            "The “high tax” stuff is just b***ocks. If you found a company and it becomes successful - which is the exception among startups - there are plenty of tax breaks for you to personally do very well."

            So its not easy to be successful, and those who achieve it seem to have figured out how to get to the next stage, so should be encouraged to serve more people so... steal what they earned? There is a shortage of doctors in the UK, and people contributing to large pensions get taxed heavier, coinciding with doctors retiring around the time their pension pot got so big. Correlation? Naa, steal more!

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: @localzuk

              @Codejunky

              >Not sure where you get your straw man from

              The doctrine of the segment of the Conservative party Truss associates with believes reducing a person's income/wealth will motivate them to go out and find work...

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: @localzuk

                @Roland6

                "The doctrine of the segment of the Conservative party Truss associates with believes reducing a person's income/wealth will motivate them to go out and find work..."

                Why was the complaint that they wanted to tax less? The big crying complaint being the cut in tax? The crying which surprised me as she was gonna allow fracking and we know how nuts the green madness people are yet they were less noisy.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @localzuk

              "The 80's would be 1980's"

              Surely the '80s would 1980s?

        5. John H Woods Silver badge

          "We currently have the highest tax's in decades"

          This isn't a sim, and 'tax rate' is not a single slider that affects everybody equally - it's quite possible for very nearly all of the 60% of the country who pay income tax to be being absolutely hammered whilst very wealthy people are insufficiently taxed.

          1. Binraider Silver badge

            Re: "We currently have the highest tax's in decades"

            Quite a few years demonstration of that "possibility" on record readily available; and under who's leadership that applies.

            Most of the new wealth "created" in last few years is being funneled straight up to the megacorporations and a handful of elites; where the tax dodging strategies are well known. See Amazon, MS, Starbucks, and many, many others. Before people whine "shareholders", well, if that were true, DB pension funds, and those of us still accumulating DC pension pots would not be seeing well below inflation growth.

            There are a handful of fringe startups that offer interesting investment possibilities, but by and large, the sown-up nature of our economies does not usually allow these to change the status quo. It does happen occasionally of course.

            And not before time.

          2. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: "We currently have the highest tax's in decades"

            @John H Woods

            "This isn't a sim, and 'tax rate' is not a single slider that affects everybody equally"

            Not sure where you think I said that? Or what you think it has to do with my comment? Or did you mean to post it to someone else?

            "it's quite possible for very nearly all of the 60% of the country who pay income tax to be being absolutely hammered whilst very wealthy people are insufficiently taxed."

            And vice versa. Still not sure what that has to do with my comment though.

        6. localzuk Silver badge

          Re: @localzuk

          Its interesting, as you've stated a number of things there that at first read seem realistic. But, like reading a response from ChatGPT, as soon as you dig deeper you realise just how flawed they are.

          Japan has its own issues - decades of stagnating economy. Aging population etc... They have their own crises to deal with.

          The BoE had to specifically prop up pension funds. https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/pension-schemes-may-have-needed-employer-support-without-boe-intervention-2022-10-12/

          That is not the same as the long running "propping up" of the UK economy since 2008. And your grasp of govt borrowing is slim to say the least. The BoE creates money. It doesn't necessarily have to be paid back. The consequence of creating that money can be increased inflation. However, the inflation we're seeing today is not related to that money - but instead is due to lack of supply of goods due to Covid, Brexit and the Ukraine war.

          We have low taxes in comparison with history. Investment happens when investors feel they can make a profit - regardless of tax levels. If an investor feels they couldn't make a profit due to tax, then their business idea is not good enough to be in this country, simply put. It means they don't think they should pay their fair share for the profits they wish to gain.

          Even the IMF says trickle down doesn't work...

          The pound plunged dramatically after Truss's govt announced their mini-budget. Other currencies didn't.

          You appear to have a bit of a poor memory.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: @localzuk

            @localzuk

            "Japan has its own issues - decades of stagnating economy. Aging population etc... They have their own crises to deal with."

            And yet both had problems with treasury bond liquidity.

            "The BoE had to specifically prop up pension funds"

            That does seem to be true. After forcing pensions to hold government bonds because they are 'safe' (I think that was Brown?) they had to quickly liquidate what they could to meet so called 'collateral requests'. UK bonds are so safe that they cause a doom spiral at the very time when the BoE has to either fight inflation or a recession after a decade of borrow and spend incontinence and low interest rates. We can choose to do one or the other or get both high inflation and recession. It takes a lot more than 2 weeks to put the country in that position.

            "That is not the same as the long running "propping up" of the UK economy since 2008. And your grasp of govt borrowing is slim to say the least. The BoE creates money. It doesn't necessarily have to be paid back. The consequence of creating that money can be increased inflation."

            Its not really 'can' cause inflation, it does. More paper chasing fewer things to spend said paper on. And it doesnt have to be paid back, says weimar republic, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Argentina, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, etc.

            "However, the inflation we're seeing today is not related to that money - but instead is due to lack of supply of goods due to Covid, Brexit and the Ukraine war."

            Not related to that money? So that money had no effect? I cant believe you think that. I would agree the reaction to covid definitely caused severe problems as it reduced supply AND we pumped out even more money leaving much greater demand and killing off or seriously harming supply. The Ukraine war certainly caused problems and is likely to cause further food related issues in future so I hear. Brexit may or may not, no idea as it was lost in the catastrophic decision to cause this situation by our response to covid.

            "We have low taxes in comparison with history"

            As long as we are selective with history. Good job we have economics to analyse what happened with what effects to give us an idea of good and bad decisions.

            "Investment happens when investors feel they can make a profit - regardless of tax levels."

            To hold that statement requires an understanding that higher tax reduces what is worth investing in as tax reduces what is profitable. Higher tax, less investment. In an interesting example we have the windfall tax on energy companies we need to invest more in exploration and extraction of fossil fuels. The result of the tax is the very energy companies investing less at a time we need them most.

            "If an investor feels they couldn't make a profit due to tax, then their business idea is not good enough to be in this country, simply put"

            And under that logic you are happy to reduce investment in this country. So the very supply we need is less important to you than higher tax rates. You seem to agree there is a supply issue so surely we want more investment to increase supply?

            "It means they don't think they should pay their fair share for the profits they wish to gain."

            There is a reason Brandon is called dementia Joe. 'pay their fair share' is an absolute bull statement that means nothing. There is no 'fair share' its not a number or a value, its a statement used to justify green eyes and stupidity. If you want greater supply then do the things to increase supply (Truss seemed to somewhat understand that). If you are willing to restrict supply to take resources out of the economy for government reallocation then increase tax. Cry that your foot is on the floor after you shoot it off doesnt fix the problem.

            "Even the IMF says trickle down doesn't work..."

            If the IMF say it doesnt work then it surely must. But it depends what you mean by trickle down. The straw man bull or the factually observed reality.

            "The pound plunged dramatically after Truss's govt announced their mini-budget. Other currencies didn't."

            Truss announced a pro-growth mini-budget and the pound crashed. Thats not the result of a pro-growth mini-budget, thats the result of the inherited situation. It also didnt help that the BoE didnt raise the interest rate as much as expected.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @localzuk

            "Even the IMF says trickle down doesn't work..."

            I'd say trickle down works perfectly. As advertised.

            For those it's meant for: People at the top pissing on everything and everyone "beneath" them.

  10. pimppetgaeghsr

    It's a simple formula.

    Is the tech/semiconductor company British?

    If so can it be sold to USA/China/Other?

    If so are the management and significant shareholders one of the Good Old Boys and Tory Members/Donors?

    Is it enriching for those above?

    If so it will be sold off, if not it will be left to flounder.

    1. hoola Silver badge

      There is the third possibility:

      It is "invested in" by a bunch of VC scrotes so that it can "expand and develop".

      The VC lot then asset strip leaving an worthless shell behind and millions of pounds of debt.

      1. rg287

        There is the third possibility:

        It is "invested in" by a bunch of VC scrotes so that it can "expand and develop".

        The VC lot then asset strip leaving an worthless shell behind and millions of pounds of debt.

        The great thing about this option is it's so flexible. It doesn't even need to be a tech company - Wedgwood got bought, asset-stripped ("Executive homes" on the estate's land, basically up to the factory walls) and then flogged on, laden with debt. Startups are leveraging the hype-train, but there's good money to be had in old brands who have some land or legacy assets you can flog.

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        >The VC lot then asset strip leaving an worthless shell behind and millions of pounds of debt.

        Before this they will have extracted as much money as possible from the government for their investment in the UK etc.

        The sad thing is does seem that whilst it was cheaper to the UK government to subsidise the continued employment of the Tata steel workers, many multi-nationals see such subsidies as a given and thus include them in their business planning rather than treat them as the exception...

  11. captain veg Silver badge

    a plan

    The government should set up a Local Electronics Group.

    Then we would have an ARM and a LEG.

    -A.

    1. prandeamus

      Re: a plan

      The ability of the current administration to distinguish between its ARSE and its ELBOW is frequently in doubt. Make up your own acronyms to taste. Too many senior figures are in post because the anti-remainer pogroms of the last few years have prioritised party loyalty well above actual competence. I loathe the current administration, but I also have to admit I don't know if Labour have a considered strategic alternative at this point, as they are biding their time waiting for the next inevitable Tory:Banana-Skin interaction to happen.

      1. captain veg Silver badge

        Re: a plan

        Advanced Research in Semiconductors Executive?

        -A.

      2. captain veg Silver badge

        Re: a plan

        Electronic Logic By Our Wafers?

        -A.

  12. Mike 137 Silver badge

    A complete waste of time

    Even if govt. actually gets round to creating a 'chip strategy', it will (as always) consist of stratospheric double plus good duck speak about 'incentivisation', 'empowerment', 'motivisation' and a few other trendy non-concepts, at the expense of defining or (Heaven forbid) mandating any specific practical steps to make something useful happen..

  13. nsld

    LOL

    The party of money launderers and tax avoiders want others to invest...

    With brexit the only UK inward investment is fire sale acquisitions and knowledge transfer out of the UK.

    No one is going to set up in Little Faragestan without a serious bung from the government..

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: LOLFUBAR

      No one is going to set up in Little Faragestan without a serious bung from the government.. ....... nsld

      And even then, would you feel safe and secure working amongst them surrounded by all of their assurances in support of empty promises and wishful thinking?

      You'd have to be certifiably mad and/or criminally insane if looking for an excuse for such a nonsense.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: LOLFUBAR

        And, whenever one may have attracted new foreign money to purchase assets and baubles and to create in the likes of the City in London, a seemingly attractive global hub for the resting/transferring of massive outside wealth, and then one, practically within a virtual instant and upon the whim of unfriendly foreign instruction and alien coercion, freezes/sequesters/seizes those attractively wealthy accounts and denies them their removal out of the reach of hostile states and their many wannabe conspiring renegade rogue actors, for SWIFT rightful return of such impounded goods to their popularly recognised entrepreneurial ownerships, is the chance of any other worldly wise soul being taken for an ignorant invested fool to be stripped of an almighty fortune without there being any worthy dire consequences and just dessert payback, more vanishingly slim and just as likely as never ever again, methinks.

        And we haven't even considered what injured parties of the current abomination might be quite justifiably inclined to do to register their disgust and great displeasure at the evident manic outbreak of remote party hostilities.

        What on Earth were UKGBNI thinking? What is the master plan? Is there one, or is it all just suck it and see if anything good or bad happens about yesterday and react to it today, which is what everything appears to revolve around? And how crazy is that ‽

    2. hoola Silver badge

      Re: LOL

      That happened long before Brexit even existed as a concept.

      The UK is laden with business that at the first whiff of a buyer, roll over and accept the deal to make a quick profit..

      It is a cultural issue and why so much innovation disappears. We have some amazing concepts but just flog them at the first opportunity,

  14. PhilipN Silver badge

    "once a world leader in the field"

    Ouch! Painful but true and even more painful is that with half a century of decline many in the country are blissfully unaware of the former pre-eminence of General Electric (no the UK one), Mullards et al. Names as invisible today as Rootes Group and British Leyland*

    *car companies, kids.

  15. mpi Silver badge

    I wonder if there was a way to make such costly and structurally complex decisions easier...

    Like, being a founding and voting member of one of the largest and richest geopolitical organizations that is also the the third largest market in the world...for example.

  16. bazza Silver badge

    What's the End Goal?

    I'll put in some counter balance, see what happens!

    What's the end goal? Always a good question to ask of someone saying, "We need a strategy, and it's your job to make it". No goal, no strategy, no means of judging "success"...

    The 4 points in that letter do not, so far as I can tell, define a specific end goal. There's a fair bit about making the component parts of the industry bigger, more numerous, more available, mentions of supporting jobs, education and R&D - all very laudable things, but they're not saying what will then be getting made that isn't being made now and why it's worth it.

    Without a clear, tempting goal, a government has to consider whether investment in jobs, education and R&D for a completely different field - e.g. space, or aerospace, or fintech - is likely to be a better money spinner for the UK. Some may argue, right now, it's more important to create a whole new generation of nuclear reactor engineers which may result in the UK getting more energy independence. Achieving that is probably more economically significant.

    Also, the second point in the letter encourages "partnering with strategic allies", which is really calling for a international strategy (to benefit the UK industry) rather than a purely UK strategy.

    There's been a fair bit of criticism of the US and EU money splurges; they are just money splurges, unlikely to result in either the US or the EU gaining full sovereignty in competitive latest-process-scale chip manufacturing. There's just too many companies all over the world that are, in effect, single sources of vital tools and ingredients, that would have to be replicated but probably cannot be. Encouraging the UK to follow suit seems dubious, without some sort of reason why. In fact, to gain a strategic foothold in the semiconductor industry, picking one of those supply industries and focusing on that is likely to be more successful.

  17. SodiumChloride

    Good luck

    If they put as much effort into this as they are currently doing with packaging legislation then we are in deep doo doo. I had a meeting a few weeks ago and the comments were interesting.

    There were many comments like these.

    "Does the government actually know how industry works?"

    "Has anyone in the department talked to anyone affected by this?"

    "How are we expected to get data when the legislation is not finalised but the reporting period has started?"

    The whole meeting, 700 plus people - was a shambles

    If they have no clue about what to do with a box or cup then asking for a strategy on complex chip manufacture should make for interesting times.

  18. HPCJohn

    Attracting highly qualified staff

    Having worked at ASML in Eindhoven, I feel that I am qualified to make some responses here.

    NL offers tax incentives to highly qualified staff to move there.

    The Eindhoven region actively promotes itself as a high tech region which has lots of companies and startups

    The towns in the surrounding area actively promote themselves as places to live for foreign workers. Can you imagine a town in Surrey organising a coach tour for foreigners asking them to coma and live in this lovely town?

  19. rg287

    Tech industry luminaries have politely asked the UK Prime Minister to pull his finger out when it comes to delivering a strategy for the future of the UK semiconductor sector, or it may not have one at all.

    Tech industry luminaries have politely asked the UK Prime Minister to pull his finger out when it comes to delivering a strategy for the future of the UK semiconductor sector, or it may not have one at all.

    FTFY.

    Oh to live in a country which has an industrial strategy. Or any sort of strategy really... (not including dossiers titled "Developing my former neighbour's personal wealth").

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    no blast from the past thanks

    In some ways we are lucky we have a reasonably young pm. Otherwise some idiot would have suggested getting alan amstrad sugar to become the czar of chips just because he made various shit electronic products in the 80s.

    Obviously if it was czar of fish and chips I may take a chance of him as why not.

    1. R Soul Silver badge

      Re: no blast from the past thanks

      Alan Sugar's company never manufactured anything. He bought cheap tat and took a percentage when he moved it on. Armpit, sorry Amstrad, was just a bigger version of a car boot sale business down the local street market.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: no blast from the past thanks

        Like the appropriately named Binatone too. Which has been selling some its products with Motorola branding.

  21. Tom 7

    Asking this government for a plan for your industry?

    Is this some insurance scam?

  22. Mage Silver badge
    Unhappy

    UK Chips?

    Ferranti, Plessey, Inmos

    Isn't it 40 years too late?

    And so many mainland Europe gone now too.

  23. ChoHag Silver badge

    Yesterday's focus

    "Specialist" chips are rapidly becoming commodities. Concentrating on the silicon is like encouraging Africa to lay out a copper PSTN.

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