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techUK wants a digital minister in every govt department

Every government department should have a minister with dedicated digital responsibilities, a technology trade body has said.

techUK, which represents British tech businesses, is also calling for a ‘smart migrant’ policy and a digital inclusion programme in its manifesto for the next UK government.

As well as department digital ministers, the manifesto calls for a range of new appointments, including a new Chief Privacy Officer and a Digital Trade Tsar in the Foreign Office.

Calls to action

The techUK calls to action include:

  • Powerful new UK leadership roles, including at least one minister with dedicated digital roles in every department, a new Chief Privacy Officer, a new FCO Digital Trade Tsar and a leading voice in Europe.
  • A clear target of doubling UK tech exports by 2020.
  • A ‘smart migration’ policy to help high-growth companies tap into the world’s best talent, focusing on post-study and graduate entrepreneur visas.
  • alongside measures to strengthen the pipeline of home grown skills.
  • Ten-year innovation budgets that extend beyond parliamentary cycles, as a platform for long term growth.
  • ‘Digital-trust-by-default’ across the public and private sector, with a commitment to free speech on the web and a clear legal framework for government surveillance.
  • Ensuring jobs and growth beyond the South East of England and doubling the digital participation of SMEs across all industries.
  • A digital inclusion programme to ensure that everyone has basic online skills by 2020.

Reactions to the manifesto

The manifesto is published ahead of a debate between politicians from the three main parties this evening.

The launch event will see newly-appointed Digital Industries Minister Ed Vaizey MP, Shadow Business Minister Iain Wright MP and Lib Dem peer Lord Clement-Jones CBE react to the manifesto and outline their own parties’ vision for the sector post-2015.

Vaizey’s role, created in July’s reshuffle, sits across the Business and Culture departments, and could form a prototype for the responsibilities proposed by techUK for ministers in other departments.

‘Fundamental role’

julian_techUKJulian David, CEO of techUK, said tech and digital have a “fundamental role to play in almost everything the next government will need to do”, and labelled the manifesto “a roadmap to 2020”.

The key message for politicians is that voters and industry alike want the Government to secure our digital future.

Partnerships

The manifesto launch comes only a week after Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) published their own manifesto entitled ‘Britain’s Secret Weapon’, which included the appointment of a Minister for Self-Employment and increasing the availability of flexible office space.

Two weeks ago Coadec also released their Startup Manifesto, backed by over 200 startups, in which they called for tax cuts for entrepreneurs, restoring the post-study work visa and laws around Bitcoin.

Coadec’s publication overlaps heavily with techUK’s manifesto, parlicularly on issues such as immigration.

techUK told Tech City News that they worked very closely with Coadec when producing their manifesto, and that the two organisations are supportive of each others’ calls to action.

Image Source: Flickr / UK Parliament

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