Blog Post

How Does Brexit Affect UK Custom Software Development


Raspal Chima -

The world is a much scarier place post Brexit.

Following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union (EU), there has been much speculation about ‘what happens next’, and this has caused widespread uncertainty in the markets – possibly even impacting on your own business too.

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The financial markets are widely expected to go through a period of turmoil while the value of the pound (currently at its lowest level since 1985) re-establishes itself and new international trade deals are negotiated. But what about technology and, specifically, software development?

In this post, we’re going to consider some of the ways Brexit may – or may not – affect UK software development.

Startup Funding

The UK possess a large and vibrant tech startup community, the occupants of which are quite often software developers. Anyone involved in software will know that, while it’s possible to get going on your own, the ability to take flight and provide a mass-market product requires significant investment.

Tellingly, zero of the fourteen British $1bn tech firms that were once in that embryonic startup phase supported Brexit, and they really know the value of funding.

Will funding for software startups be harder to obtain with the lack of EU support and a UK economy at half mast? Only time will tell.

Shortage of Skills

The world of software development is a very inclusive one, and for good reason; with so many varying technologies and programming languages available, filling a room with the skills required to develop a modern application isn’t particularly easy.

As a result, software development firms in the UK routinely employ EU nationals both internally and remotely. Following Brexit, there is a great deal of uncertainty as to whether or not that practice can continue as Britain removes itself from the clutches of Brussels.

Software development thrives on collaboration and the influx of talent from the EU has been a welcome addition to the skill base of this country. Unfortunately, there’s a very real chance it won’t be quite as readily available beyond this country’s exit from the EU.

Confusion Over Data Handling Rules

A big part of software development lies in the ability for programmers to work with data, big or small. The privacy of that data is paramount and, unfortunately, Britain has chosen a time to leave the EU just as Brussels is negotiating a new deal for the transfer of personal data transatlantically. EU member states currently have until June 2018 to comply with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The GDPR aims to make significant changes to the ways in which organisations handle and transmit personal data and, although the process of leaving the EU could take as long as two years to complete, there is understandably a great deal of uncertainty about where this leaves Britain’s software pioneers when it comes to complying with data rules and regulations.

The End of EU Research Grants

Software development moves fast, and keeping up with the latest trends and programming languages requires a significant amount of R&D on the behalf of developers. The EU funded billions of research between 2007 and 2013 and without it, there will be serious questions about how small tech businesses are expected to make up the shortfall. Will the UK government come to the rescue?


Of all the post-Brexit discussion topics, Britain’s decision to leave the EU and its impact on software development is one of the hardest to hypothesise.

We need to see how things pan out, but if there has ever been a time for software developers to increase their skills and seek alternative sources of funding for big projects, it’s now.

The irony is that, for business owners, the best time to invest in an efficiency drive is precisely when sales and profitability stall.

When sales look like they may not achieve planned targets, an alternative to maintaining profitability is to look at internal processes and systems to see where efficiencies can be made. And the easiest way to do that is to see which administrative elements can be automated or streamlined. In this way it’s possible to minimise costs and maximise profitability.

The process of reducing operational costs starts with a technical appraisal of existing systems to see where efficiencies can be made. And really, that should be at the top of every financial director’s to-do list, following the June referendum result.

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