The Prime Minister’s chief advisor Dominic Cummings has told civil servants that he is examining ways to help the UK build $1 trillion (£775bn) technology giants.
Mr Cummings emailed employees of the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) this week and told them that he is considering “ways we can build [$1 trillion] tech companies,” according to a report in Business Insider.
The UK has so far failed to build large, public technology companies at the same scale of American giants such as Apple, Amazon and Google, which have all reached valuations of $1 trillion.
A no-deal Brexit could allow the Government to give state aid to British technology businesses, helping them grow through incentives as well as taxpayer funding.
Mr Cummings is believed to have been a vocal advocate of the Government’s recent $500m investment into struggling satellite business OneWeb.
Many technology investors and entrepreneurs have expressed concern that promising British technology companies have sold to larger, international businesses rather than continuing to grow independently in the UK.
Rob Kniaz, a venture capitalist who has backed businesses such as Deliveroo and Darktrace, welcomed Mr Cummings’ proposal.
“If it means breaking EU laws to build these winners then so be it,” he said. ”The future of the country will be defined by having some of these world-leading companies start here so I’m pleased to see someone near the top looking at how to remove friction along the way.”
However, Dom Hallas, the executive director of start-up lobbying group Coadec, warned that state aid isn’t a simple solution to creating technology giants.
“The truth is that building a national tech giant is what politicians and policymakers around the world have been interested in for many years,” he said. “The challenge is that often the policies don’t match the rhetoric.”
“Many in the tech community are skeptical that a huge influx of state aid will fix the problem – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good idea to try to map out what conditions a company of that scale would need to thrive here in the UK.”
A spokesman for the DCMS did not respond to a request for comment.