May 19, 2017
techUK, the association that represents a large part of the UK’s technology sector, has published a new manifesto ahead of the General Election which it claims ‘sets out a bold and ambitious vision for the next Government to create a modern and dynamic digital economy that works for everyone’. The organisation has set out a series of recommendation that aim to show how Britain can remain at the forefront of global tech innovation while it navigates Brexit and other forces. Its objectives include: boosting the UK’s productivity; harnessing digital transformation to build a smarter state; creating new jobs and a new skilled, adaptable workforce; and protecting and empowering people in a digital age.
The manifesto provides a set of policy recommendations that techUK believes will help the next Government achieve this ambition. These are grouped under five headings (original text):
1. Making Brexit a Success for Tech
The UK tech sector has been the outstanding success of the UK economy over the last decade and will be vital to the UK’s success in a post-Brexit world. The next Government must secure a deal that puts the UK on the best possible footing to thrive outside the EU. This will require a tech-first trade deal; maintaining the cross-border data flows; making the UK a hub for global tech talent; providing confidence, stability and certainty throughout the negotiations; and placing tech at the heart of Global Britain’s new trade relationships.
2. Achieving Economic Renewal Through a Modern Industrial Strategy
Economic renewal can be delivered through a modern industrial strategy, which provides a long-term and evolutionary framework to build the capacity and capability for a truly innovation-led economy. In order to achieve this, the next Government will need to boost investment in the UK’s R&D; harness the power of tech to solve the UK’s “productivity puzzle”; make the UK the best place to startup and scale a high growth business; create an open and dynamic regulatory framework; and creating the conditions for investment in world class digital and data infrastructure.
3. Building the Smarter State
The last decade has seen an increased understanding within Government of the importance of driving digital transformation. Digital transformation will be vital to protecting our public services amid rising public sector debt and demands on usage. The Smarter State will place tech at the heart of Government; unlock the next wave of digital transformation in government; develop expertise within the Civil Service; address the barriers to digital innovation in health and social care; and innovate by instinct in the defence supply base.
4. Nurturing the Skills for the Jobs of the Future
The dynamism of the sector means tech creates new jobs at nearly three times the rate of the rest of the economy, and demand far outstrips supply. To ensure the UK has the digital skills it needs to thrive, the next Government should equip the future generation with world class digital skills from an early age; create an apprenticeship programme for the future; inspire and support girls and women to work in tech; develop a clear and ambitious policy on the future of work and lifelong learning; and open up to the pioneers and innovators of tomorrow.
5. Guaranteeing a Safe and Secure Digital World
The UK needs to build on its strong cyber security credentials by investing further in public sector cyber security; protecting end-to-end encryption; and enabling SME investment in cyber security. The UK also needs to be the safest place for people to go online. Young people must be empowered to navigate the online world safely through a new “digital resilience” curriculum and a full, evidence-based review into current best practice should be conducted to underpin a comprehensive online safety strategy.