Prime Minister Theresa May has tried to calm fears in the science and tech industries over the fall-out from Brexit, insisting the Government will continue to try to attract “potential, talent and ambition” once the UK leaves the EU.
May, who has now outlined her 12-point Brexit plan, stressed her desire to make the UK “the best place for science and innovation in a global Britain that looks to the future”.
She went on to suggest the Government would do its level best to support the UK’s technology and science sectors as one of the key principles of the negotiation process and of post-Brexit Britain.
“One of our great strengths as a nation is the breadth and depth of our academic and scientific communities, backed up by some of the world’s best universities. And we have a proud history of leading and supporting cutting-edge research and innovation,” said May. “I want us to be a secure, prosperous, tolerant country – a magnet for international talent and a home to the pioneers and innovators who will shape the world ahead.”
She also confirmed what many data protection experts, and the Information Commissioner’s Office, have been stressing for months, that all EU laws – including the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation – will become UK legislation.
Nevertheless, May did suggest that, over time, this may change and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in Britain will end.
However, it has long been predicted that the UK will have to have at least equivalent data protection legislation to appease present and future trade partners.
In September, the Japanese warned that technology giants such as Hitachi and Arm Holdings could pull their operations out of the UK – putting over 100,000 jobs at risk – if the Government ditched GDPR.
In an open letter to Theresa May’s Government, Japan’s foreign ministry stated: “Japanese businesses have concerns that the free transfer of information might be impaired once the UK releases itself from the EU’s data protection legislation and establishes its own legislation.
“Japanese businesses with their European headquarters in the UK may decide to transfer their head-office function to Continental Europe if EU laws cease to be applicable in the UK after its withdrawal.”
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