BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT has warned the Government that a no-deal Brexit would cause lasting damage to the future of science and innovation in the UK and could undermine the country’s position as a leading digital economy.

The stark prediction came in a report to the House of Commons Select Committee Inquiry: Brexit, Science and Innovation: Preparations for ‘No-deal’, which investigates the likely impact on IT and technology if the UK left the EU without an agreement.

The key areas of concerns centre on:

  • The adverse impact of restrictions on the free flow of ideas and people.
  • A lack of access to pan-European research and funding.
  • No agreement in sight on data flows between the EU and UK post exit, about which it claims: “the impact of this should not be understated, especially for larger organisations with international business.”
  • A high possibility of a skills shortage in the UK workforce.

BCS Head of Policy, Bill Mitchell, said a no-deal Brexit is likely to cause lasting damage in areas as far ranging as filling tech vacancies to trust in the reliability of UK research organisations.

“BCS believes the UK Government must act quickly to provide clarity for the science and innovation community in the short to medium term, whilst also doing what is necessary to deliver a clear vision for the UK’s science and innovation community.

“Whether that course involves maintaining the existing status quo for a period of time or charting a different course to make the much-needed changes in the IT sector that would ensure our continuation as a digital world-leader.

“Either way, in the event of a No-deal Brexit and without clarity from the Government, there are significant impacts for the science and innovation community that will have far reaching consequences for the UK’s overall prosperity.”

The BCS report encapsulated the results of wide-ranging consultation with key stakeholder organisations, including the UK Computing Research Committee, the Council for Professors and Heads of Computing, and the Royal Academy of Engineering.