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Safety tech sector among fastest growing in UK – study

safety tech
Image credit: John Gomez via Shutterstock

The safety tech sector has been named one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK by a government-backed independent report published today.

According to the UK Safety Tech sectoral analysis report, the safety tech sector’s revenue has increased by 21% in the last year, topping £381m.

The safety tech sector includes firms specialising in digital identity, which can be used for age verification to prevent children from being exposed to inappropriate content, as well as identity verification used as an anti-money laundering measure.

The report comes as the government’s Online Safety Bill remains in political limbo as the Conservative Party continues its leadership contest to replace Boris Johnson. The controversial bill ran out of time to be forced through parliament before the summer recess.

The government has been taking steps to promote online safety, such as a trustmark that shows companies meet certain requirements to provide digital ID services.

“As the UK and others look to implement a Digital Identity Framework, there are loads of examples of countries successfully implementing their own framework that can act as a guiding light of best practices and pitfalls to avoid,” said David Mahdi, CSO and CISO advisor at digital certificate firm Sectigo. “The Nordics, for instance, have been using BankIDs to help facilitate digital business in Scandanavia.”

The government’s direction with digital identities, in combination with the Online Safety Bill, looks set to benefit tech startups providing these services.

Investors have been putting money into the sector too, with startups raising a record £63m in equity investments last year.

UK safety tech companies include Cheshire-based GoBubble, which filters social media channels from harassment and abuse, and Edinburgh-based Cyacomb, which works with law enforcement agencies to detect illegal child sex abuse content online.

The report said that more than 100 companies across the UK are innovating in digital safety, leading to a 30% boost in the number of jobs in the industry. This has brought the total number of UK safety tech jobs to 2,850.

“Making the online world safer is not only the right thing to do, it’s good for business,” said digital minister Damian Collins.

“UK tech firms are at the cutting-edge developing practical solutions to the risks posed by the internet so that it continues to be a benefit not a detriment to people’s lives.

“They have blazed a trail of growth, innovation, and job creation to become world leaders in their field and we are committed to maintaining their upward trajectory.”

Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi said in a speech in July that he expects the Online Safety Bill to pass.