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The head of IBM’s UK arm expects Britain to continue to be a major player in the global tech market.

A post-Brexit overhaul of red tape will boost the fortunes of London’s tech industry, according to a report in The Telegraph. Reduced regulation will allow the city to beat international rivals despite political turmoil and the inflation crisis, said Sreeram Visvanathan, head of IBM UK.

Visvanathan stated that the UK has “the ability to do a lot more” to help technology businesses thrive post-Brexit, and praised regulators’ new-found appetite for innovation. Visvanathan, who took charge of IBM’s UK operations two years ago, said that changes to regulation could help build “willingness to take risk and challenge the status quo”.

UK tech regulators “softened” since Brexit

Key tech industry regulators have softened their approach since the Brexit referendum. The Information Commissioner’s Office, for example, launched a ‘regulatory sandbox’ service in 2020, allowing start-ups to create new services that push the boundaries of data laws such as GDPR while consulting with regulators at the earliest stages.

Regulation on self-driving cars has allowed carefully controlled experiments on public roads in Britain, even as the European Union cracks down on artificial intelligence that’s vital to the development of fully autonomous vehicles of the future.

“I’ve seen the regulators be very open”, Visthanan said. “I’ve seen us move away from that hard stance of ‘this is the mandate and thou shalt obey the mandate’. There’s a willingness to listen and to adapt.”

Visvanathan, who ran IBM UK’s public sector division before taking up his current job in 2020, added that British business leaders ought to show greater leadership, be more imaginative and embrace change faster. “Those are the three things that fundamentally we need to do to stay ahead of the rest of the world.”

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