David Cameron drops in for a cup of tea

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Yesterday we had a surprise visit from the British Prime Minister. Complete with security and press entourage, he called into the St John’s Innovation Centre for a cup of tea and a chat with some of the local tech companies. Our Managing Director, Dr Rosemary Francis was amongst the chosen few to meet with him at a private round table debate.

“Hot topics on the agenda were the National Insurance contribution discount, announced today, and the proposed plans to enforce late payment penalties. Both schemes are designed to support small and growing businesses and I’m sure they will go some way to do so.

“Most of the companies assembled were a little way past the early startup phase. With large staffing bills and global customers, the new legislation probably won’t dent our National Insurance bill or help resolve international payment difficulties. The benefits for growing tech companies are likely to come much earlier when two people in a shed hire one developer to meet the demands of their single large customer. In that world I think these changes will make more of a difference.

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“The discussion was lively and enlightening on several fronts for all. The most impressive part of the morning was the level organisation from the PM’s team. Matthew Hancock, Minister for Business and Education met us first as warm up act so that by the time Mr Cameron arrived, we were all debating merrily. Both nice chaps, it was easy to forget who they were until they started to joke about chats they’d had with Putin.

“A couple of companies received more coverage than they bargained for, UltraSoC has a nice piece on the ITV evening news. About 35 seconds in, you can also see the back of my head, which is not such as good claim to fame. Overall, a good day was had by all.”

Rosemary Francis, Managing Director, Ellexus Ltd