Here are this week’s favourite stories across business, tech and finance from our Head of PR, Bilal Mahmood. Happy reading!

Hammond’s Budget welcomed by SMEs

Philip Hammond has announced measures aimed at calming entrepreneurs worried about whether leaving the EU would mean less investment for UK startups. In order to help businesses grow, the Chancellor announced a plan to unlock over £20bn to invest in scale-ups, including investing in a new £2.5bn fund run by the British Business Bank. Read more here.

Budget sees funding for AI, 5G and digital skills

The Chancellor has announced a new £500m tech innovation fund to invest in artificial intelligence, 5G, and full fibre broadband to boost tech start-ups. Philip Hammond has allocated £75m for artificial intelligence, £400m for electric car charge points, £100m to boost clean car purchases, £160m for 5G mobile networks amongst a number of other initiatives. Read more

Open Banking to benefit tech firms

The Standard’s Simon English considers the impact of incoming Open Banking regulations on high street lenders. By making customers’ data more freely available banks will be able to launch services that plug into accounts like apps. English suggests that as Amazon and Apple become increasingly like banks, traditional lenders may have to begin offering “holidays, new cars, cinema tickets,” to keep up. Read more

Card is king

A new survey claims that nearly 45% of consumers would walk out of a shop if they are asked to pay by cash. The survey of 1,000 people, conducted by card company Paymentsense, found that SMEs risked losing out on £2bn in sales over the festive period if they did not offer updated payment methods. Of those surveyed, a quarter of people who left a store empty-handed said they would not return unless the shop introduced card payments. The research found that consumers spent £135 a month on average in smaller stores and eateries. Read more

AI for R4

BBC Radio 4 is to air a special edition of its Today programme which will be partially hosted by an AI software program. This will see the technology conducting an interview through a presenter modelled on Mishal Husain. Read more