According to Politico, the UK government's semiconductor strategy, which has been in the works for over two years, has been delayed once again due to the maternity leave of the Secretary of State for Technology, Michelle Donelan. The initiative was expected to be announced in March, with an announcement pencilled in for April 20th, but has been pushed back while the government decides who will cover for Donelan.
While the European Union and the United States have already announced multibillion-dollar manufacturing subsidy programs under their respective Chips Acts, the UK has taken years to develop its own semiconductor strategy. Many countries are opting to provide subsidies to ensure a domestic supply of chips, following a chip supply chain crisis that underlined the dependence on southeast Asia that had grown over decades due to globalization.
Previous reports indicate that the UK's semiconductor strategy, with a budget of single-digit billions of pounds, has already been rejected once by the Treasury as too expensive, compared to the €43 billion spend outlined by the European Commission and the $52 billion chip manufacturing budget approved by the United States. The slowness of the UK government's response has brought criticism from companies and industry organizations, some of which have indicated that they may have to relocate their businesses abroad without financial support from UK taxpayers.
While the strategy now has an agreed "ballpark figure" for funding from the Treasury, no decision has been made on who will cover for Donelan, who is due in April, or who will make the announcement. The delay is more to do with how the announcement appears, according to Politico's unnamed official.