There has been much to be debated upon in the tech community recently; from the triggering of article 50 and the concerns around the state of tech once we officially depart the EU, to the strength of UK’s cybersecurity following the worldwide ransomware cyber-attack. Now with a snap general election just around the corner, what are the main political parties plans for UK tech and how do their tech policies compare for the general election?
Computer Weekly and the Memo expansively covered where the top parties stand on the main digital issues; which we have read through extensively and put together a short, comprehensive guide on the political parties plans for UK tech.
Looking at how the leading party manifesto policies compare for UK tech, what would you like to see covered most? The tech community recently came together to put forward a Tech Manifesto covering how the next government needs to up their game on making a top-notch digital economy that works for all. In our blog, we cover the 5 fundamental objectives that party leaders can’t afford to ignore.
So, do the leading party manifestos for tech offer a positive stance on digital and tech and how do their policies compare on tackling digital issues currently talked about in the industry?
Technology Skills, Education and Jobs of the future
With the looming skills gap that is said to cost the UK economy around £63bn a year, all parties have outlined plans to tackle the issue surrounding skills and education in tech;
- No direct pledge of digital skills and education in Labour manifesto, but highlights the need to develop skills that are fit for a digital world, promising to maintain the current apprenticeship levy.
- Promises to ensure coding continues to be a part of the national curriculum and to re-instate post-study work visas for STEM grads.
- Commitment to growing the number of apprenticeships and building on digital skills.
- Establish new institutes of technology “in every major city in England” that will provide STEM courses and apprenticeships, to be run in partnership with industry.
- Promise to send back funds from the European Investment Fund into the British Business Bank.
- Plans to double the cost of Tier 2 skills visas from £1,000 to £2,000.
Innovation, Research and Development
When it comes to tackling the issue of a digital skills gap innovation, research and development can also play a key role. – All of the major parties have made investment pledges to support universities, research and innovation for the technology industry.
- Promises by 2030 the UK will meet its 3% R&D spending target and the investment in research and innovation will be covered by a national investment.
- Plans to create a new digital ambassador role to work with tech companies to promote Britain as an attractive place for investment, helping to support companies as they grow.
- Promise to increase investment in R&D and double the current spend across the country.
- Want to ensure universities can still attract funding for research post-Brexit, along with creating research and innovation centres and encourage the take up of driverless vehicles.
- Promises to drive an extra £2bn a year into investment and research as well as support universities to lead the expansion of R&D.
- Plans also extend to investing in other innovations such as driverless cars and reduce the admin burden around claiming tax credits for R&D.
Data Protection and Security in the Digital Age
With the EU General Data Protection Regulation coming into effect in 2018 and following the large-scale ransomware cyber-attack, data protection and security is an issue which many expect to be covered in every party’s manifesto. (In case you are still unsure we cover everything you need to know about GDPR in our latest blog)
- Want to maintain data protection rules to “protect personal privacy” and pledges to introduce a cyber security charter for companies working with the Ministry of Defence and provide “effective policing services” to deal with cyber-crime.
- Promise to help under 18s remove any content they shared online as a child and ensure tech companies are “obliged” to take measures to further protect children and tackle online abuse.
- Introduce a digital bill of rights to “preserve the neutrality of the internet” and help the public protect their own information, civil liberties and personal data.
- End mass collection of communications data and roll back state surveillance powers, opposing conservative attempts to undermine encryption and promise to invest in security and intelligence services to combat cyber-attacks.
- Create an ethical framework for how data is used and will launch a data use and ethics commission to advise government and regulators on the nature of data use which includes the promise for more protections for under-18s on social media.
- Plans to bring forward a new data protection law/ “digital charter” aiming to ensure standards are in place for the “safe, flexible and dynamic” use of data.
- Promises “unprecedented investment in cyber security and stronger cyber standards for government and public services”.
Further promises for tech
The parties policies also feature pledges regarding 5G, Wi-Fi, advancements in healthcare tech and supporting digital expansion in various industries.
- Technology and innovations will be used to champion sustainable farming, food and fishing along with launching a £1bn cultural capital fund that aims to upgrade the cultural and creative industries.
- Addresses the issues surrounding non-traditional working taking place at companies such as Uber and Deliveroo, promising to “set up a dedicated commission to modernise the law around employment status”.
- Plan to support innovative industries such as space and utilise innovation funding to “promote GP-led multidisciplinary health and care hubs”.
- Encourage entrepreneurialism by promising to create a ‘start-up allowance’ to help founders “with living costs in the crucial first weeks of their business”.
- Address the gig economy and employment chaos but promising to “modernise employment rights” to help those working in the gig economy who lack employment protections.
- Promise by 2027 that most of the UK will have access to a new 5G network with Wi-Fi services available on all train services.
- NHS to undergo a review of its internal market to introduce an ambitious tech investment programme.
- Pledges to greener travel and to get almost every car and van to be zero-emission by 2050 with £600m by 2020 to help get things started.
How do the parties plans compare to the Manifesto for tech from the technology community? – Find out more in the tech manifesto 2017! Out of the main political parties plans for UK tech, which issues and areas are most relevant and most important to you? Has anything been missed? We would love to know your thoughts! Get in contact via our Twitter page @eligcho! or via LinkedIn.