TechUK calls on government to lead digital revolution


Sophie Curtis

September 16, 2014

The trade association for the UK technology industry is calling for a digital minister in every government department, and a ‘smart migration’ policy to attract foreign talent

TechUK, the trade association for the technology industry, is calling on politicians and policy-makers to recognise the critical importance of digital technology in delivering public services, increasing productivity and securing a million new jobs over the next five years.

In its manifesto for growth and jobs 2015-2020, TechUK sets out what the government must do to build on the progress already achieved to secure Britain’s digital potential.

This includes the appointment of dedicated digital ministers in every department of government, a new chief privacy officer, and a new Foreign and Commonwealth Office ‘digital trade tsar’ to be a leading voice in Europe.

The next government should set a clear objective to double UK tech exports by 2020, and implement a ‘smart migration’ policy that allows high growth companies to tap in to the world’s best talent, alongside measures to strengthen the pipeline of home grown skills.

TechUK also calls for ten-year innovation budgets that extend beyond parliamentary cycles as a platform for long-term growth, as well as a commitment to free speech on the web and a clear legal framework for government surveillance.

Finally, techUK calls for government to commit to fund a digital inclusion programme to ensure that everyone has basic online skills by 2020, and that no one is left behind by digital innovation.

“This government has made significant investments which are having an effect, but you can’t stand still,” said Julian David, chief executive of TechUK.

“Now is an opportunity to set out specific comprehensive suggestions of what needs to be worked on during the life of the next parliament, in order to secure our digital future.”

He added that there has been a “step change” in the government’s approach to digital over the course of the last parliament. However, the next five years must be about bringing greater scale and pace to the UK’s digital transformation.

“From skills to infrastructure, digital government to digital health, we have to think big and get the job done,” he said. “Get it right and the action we take over the next five years can secure our digital future for the next thirty.”

TechUK will launch its manifesto, entitled Securing our Digital Future: the techUK manifesto for growth and jobs 2015-2020, at an event in London this evening.

Digital minister Ed Vaizey MP, shadow BIS minister Iain Wright MP, and Lord Clement-Jones will issue their responses to the recommendations and outline their parties’ visions for digital and policy post-2015.

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