TechUK calls for government to ensure a bright digital future

TechUK, which has a membership of some 850 tech companies, has just published "Securing our Digital Future", which the organisation bills as a manifesto for growth and jobs in the tech industry from 2015 through to 2020.

It calls on politicians to recognise the key role that technology will play in boosting the economy of the UK in the future, and underlines just how important it is that the country adapts to the new digital world in terms of overcoming not just economic, but social challenges.

Broadly, the manifesto calls for the government to increase productivity, deliver quality public services, and ensure a million new jobs. The next government should look to double UK tech exports by 2020, techUK believes.

More specifically, techUK wants to see new leadership roles in the government and indeed EU, with Digital Ministers introduced and positions such as Chief Privacy Officer, and a new FCO Digital Trade Tsar.

Trust issues also need to be tackled in the light of surveillance activities which have cropped up post-Snowden, with the manifesto wanting a commitment to free speech online, and a "clear legal framework" when it comes to government surveillance. Public trust in the usage of data by tech companies also needs to be addressed, as according to a recent survey, 18 per cent of respondents said they felt loss of privacy was a drawback when it came to innovation.

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Furthermore, techUK wants a "smart migration" policy to help enlist talent from abroad when it comes to firing up UK startups, as well as measures to strengthen home grown skills.

Finally, the government is being urged to deliver tech benefits across the whole of the UK, not just the south east of England, and techUK wants to see a digital inclusion scheme set up to make sure everyone in the country has "basic online skills" come 2020.

Julian David, CEO of techUK, noted: "The key message for politicians is that voters and industry alike want the government to secure our digital future."

He added: "There's no doubt we are moving in the right direction. There has been a step change in understanding just how significant these changes are and that we are in a global race. The next five years must be about bringing greater scale and pace to the digital transformation of our country. From skills to infrastructure, digital government to digital health, we have to think big and get the job done. Get it right and the action we take over the next five years can secure our digital future for the next thirty."

ITProPortal will be in central London to watch Ed Vaizey MP, the minister for culture and digital industries, Iain Wright MP, the shadow business minister and Lord Clement-Jones CBE, a Liberal Democrat peer and member of the Lords Communications Committee, debate some of these issues