Dirty Politics…Beautiful Tech
The UK has a booming technology industry. It’s the future for all of us. It touches every single person’s life. How are the Politicians faring on the subject?
Skyscanner is a great example of a simple proposition that was able to take to the world stage thanks to its tech brains and the Internet Revolution. You just need to glance at the number of digital companies and tech incubators that are springing up across the UK to see that there is more where that came from. So much so, that the UK can moot itself as the Technology Centre for Europe.
So, do the political parties all competing for their seats at Westminster get it too?
The British Chambers of Commerce doesn’t think so, accusing party leaders of “a reliance on populist statements, not economic common sense”. BBC boss John Longworth goes further highlighting in the press that “we have policy proposals that, if enacted, would undermine entrepreneurship, aspiration and business growth.”
That got us thinking and we did some homework on the main points relating to the tech future.
– States the importance of technology as the UK’s future
– SME and Start Up boost from £130m to £300m.
– Assert that they presided over the rise of tech start-ups and that they support entrepreneurs and small business rolling out their Help to Grow scheme and tripling availability of start up loans.
– Sees UK as Technology Centre of Europe
– £40m investment in The Internet of Things Industry
– More digital adoption within government processes e.g. tax returns
– £50m for free WiFi on trains by 2017
– Superfast broadband for 97% of the population by 2017
– Ultrafast broadband available to nearly all UK premises as soon as practical
– Hold the mobile operators to new legally binding agreements to ensure that 90% of UK landmass will have voice and SMS coverage by 2017
– Ensure Britain seizes the chance to be a world leader in the development of 5g
– Tech oriented education
– Creation of further scientific and technical institutions such as the Cognitive Computing Centre
– Boost apprenticeships in science and technology
– Investment to improve cyber security with police training and expansion of volunteer network
– Believes the UK is ‘just at the start of the Internet revolution’ and that ‘digital technology has transformed startup costs making it easier to run your own business’
– Freeze business rates for small companies and boost lending through a new British Investment Bank
– Creation of a Small Business Administration
– Wants to see a widening in the application of new transformative technologies in the fields of robotics, genetics, 3d printing and big data.
– A number of plans to help fledgling tech firms get off the ground
– Extension of Government’s digital services
– High speed broadband for all by 2020
– An end to rural not spots with an investment in infrastructure
– Introduction of a Cyber Security Charter
– Build on the success of London’s Tech City and the many tech clusters across the UK to support fast growing businesses through a network of incubators
– A more digital Government
– More funding to catapult innovation and technology centres in the UK
– Technology Impact Assessments
– Aim to roll out superfast broadband to 99.9% of the UK.
– Retain code on the National Curriculum
– Importance of STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths)
– Boost talent in tech sectors with foundation degrees, HND’s, HNC’s and Higher Apprenticeships plus a major expansion of high quality and advanced apprenticeships.
– Strategic defence and security review to give the police and intelligence agencies the resources to combat threats
– Invest in security and intelligence service to counter cyber attacks.
– Suggesting a Digital Bill of Rights re what happens to your digital data
UKIP, Greens, SNP and Plaid Cymru
It’s not that we are uninterested in what these (currently) smaller parties have to say. In fact, we are hugely interested because if we end up with a rainbow Government, their views will matter enormously in the ongoing deal making that will inevitably occur. However, their manifestos don’t offer many headlines in the area of industry make up.
The Greens have spoken about digital data privacy and wanting control over the data that our digital lives create and a more satisfactory law for malicious use of social media. They want to aid small business with a corporate tax for small firms at 20% and larger firms at 30%. They want to give BT and other telecoms operators an obligation to provide affordable high-speed broadband capable infrastructure to every small business.
UKIP had little to say about technology but said that to counteract a possible decrease in talent pool for IT companies once they implemented a different migrant system for skilled workers, they would increase the number of vocational courses for those at school and would abolish tuition fees for some Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine courses in England, so long as graduates work in their discipline and pay tax in the UK for at least five years.
Perhaps some businesses feel let down by the manifestos across the board. Businesses deal in detail. And the detail is a little scant right now.
Which parties will be providing that detail for the next four years remains a question mark. Let’s just hope that the tech industry (and the country’s long term future) does not suffer in the horse-trading that we can expect to see on Thursday and beyond.