The view from our supporter techUk
Now is the Time to Invent the Future Across the UK
The UK has a digital economy that is the envy of many countries. The Thames Valley is among the regions that are spearheading the nation’s innovation and attracting investment. Digitally intensive businesses account for 16% of UK output, 24% of exports and over three million jobs. We are in a strong position. But, as we plan to leave the European Union and enter a new era, we must ensure we continue to build on our heritage and create a vibrant and open economy that works for everyone. To do this, we must address some fundamental, complex issues.
Getting Brexit Right
There are implications for skills and talent; access to finance; international data flows; and challenges in leaving the single market and customs union. A comprehensive deal is unlikely to be achieved within the two-year Article 50 negotiations. The UK economy needs a meaningful transition period that allows time for the new immigration, customs, regulatory and investment arrangements to be put in place.
Powered by Innovation
On the threshold of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it is critical that Government recognises that digital adoption is a vital component in the UK achieving its economic potential. Boosting domestic investment in R&D and making the UK attractive to start and scale a high-growth business will be paramount to the UK remaining a global tech hub. The Industrial and Digital Strategies both acknowledge the pivotal role digital can play in the future of the economy but concrete policy solutions now need to be put in place to galvanise action.
A Smarter State
Digital transformation is the only way to protect our public services amid rising public sector debt and demands on usage. Frankly it is also the only one we can afford: We must re-invent our public services through radically improving efficiency and outcomes, and achieving a truly Smarter State. Investment will unlock the next wave of digital Government; improve expertise within the Civil Service; address barriers to innovation in health and social care; and drive innovation in the defence supply base.
Skills for the Future
People need the digital skills that will allow them to thrive in a digital future. Domestically, younger generations must be equipped with world class digital skills; untapped sources, such as the female population and the digitally excluded, should be encouraged to choose tech; and a clear policy on the future of work and lifelong learning should be created. The UK must also remain open to international talent as increased restrictions on migration could hamper the UK’s growth.
Safe and Secure Online
The UK needs to build on its strong cyber security credentials by investing in public sector cyber security; protecting end-to-end encryption; enabling SME investment in cyber security and ensuring citizens have the tools they need to stay safe online.
The issues outlined above will bring complex challenges, but there also unique opportunities for the UK to thrive. At the forefront of these opportunities is the chance to invent a truly innovation-led economy that works for everyone and where everyone has the opportunity to work. Those who invent the future, shape the future.