UK finance minister pledges money for Smart Cities
March 26, 2015
British finance minister George Osborne has pledged £140 million of seed capital to spur research into smart cities, and related Internet of Things social applications, such as healthcare and social care.
Mr Osborne was presenting the British Government's financial spending plans for the next year to Parliament. The funding is part of what the British finance ministry describes in the accompanying document to Mr Osborne's speech as “strategic science and innovation investments to make the UK a global leader in emerging markets and technologies”.
The document lays out the thinking behind the UK Government's approach to Smart Cities: “smart city technology could prove transformative, as well as providing significant opportunities for supporting jobs and growth”.
The finance ministry document aligns British Government strategy on Smart Cities with its approach to regional devolution and establishing local partnerships and joint ventures. The British Government has begun to devolve tax revenues and increasing powers to regional partnerships between cities, and to regions within England, to complement increased devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The document states: “to ensure that the UK can take advantage of this technology[,] local areas will need to be empowered to make decisions, and collaborations will need to be built between cities, universities and business”.
The British Government is committing £40 million to “support a competition to fund a smart cities demonstrator as part of the Internet of Things programme to trial and showcase these new technologies”.
The Government is also planning on spending a further £100 million on “intelligent mobility”, that will “focus on enhancing the development of driverless car technology and the wider systems required to implement and adopt the technology – such as telecommunications”.