techUK launches digital manifesto

techUK has launched its 2017 manifesto that will help the next government create a modern and dynamic digital economy that works for everyone.

Inventing the Future argues that the UK has the opportunity to build a 21st century economy that can and must deliver on four fundamental objectives: 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 has five main areas - Brexit, industrial strategy, smart technology transformation, tech jobs and digital security.

Taking each in turn, techUK says that the next government must secure a deal that puts the UK on the best possible footing to thrive outside the EU, requiring a tech-first trade deal that maintains the cross-border data flows and ensures that the UK becomes a hub for global tech talent. Next, a modern industrial strategy should see the government boost investment in the UK’s R&D and make the UK the best place to startup and scale a high growth business.

Digital transformation will be vital to protecting our public services amid rising public sector debt and demands on usage. Therefore, the Smarter State will unlock the next wave of digital transformation in government and address the barriers to digital innovation in health and social care.

Moreover, tech creates new jobs at nearly three times the rate of the rest of the economy. 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 and inspire and support girls and women to work in tech.

Lastly, the UK needs to build on its strong cyber security credentials by investing further in public sector cyber security. 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.

Julian David, techUK’s CEO, said: “The course of the next parliament will see significant technological developments in the way we work and live. It’s crucial that all political parties avoid broad brush and reactionary policy solutions to the complex challenges of the digital age. Politicians must do all they can to cultivate a world-leading tech sector, where a new wave of tech talent can start and scale the next generation of world leading tech companies. Whether it’s a digitised Industrial Strategy, to getting serious about urgent digital skills needs and lifelong learning, or new visions for digital trade deals, now is the time to pull out all the stops. "

“In this new globally connected world, investing in world-leading cyber defences is as important as putting bobbies on the beat. Political parties should include additional spending to update the UK Government’s cyber defences. This is especially important to make sure frontline public services are protected from attacks.”

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