Secretary of State, Oliver Dowden, has set out Ten Tech Priorities for the UK in driving digitally-enabled economic growth, both in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and into the future.
Here are the 10 ways DCMS intends to deploy digital tech to build back better, safer and stronger from COVID, and shape a new golden age for tech in the UK.
1. Rolling out world-class digital infrastructure nationwide
Gigabit broadband and 5G are at the cutting edge of digital infrastructure, enabling us to connect at lightning speeds. We are spending £5 billion to make sure homes and businesses across the country benefit from gigabit broadband – including those in harder-to-reach areas. We will also keep working to ensure vulnerable people access the support they need to benefit from digital connectivity too.
2. Unlocking the power of data
Data is the driving force of modern economies. By removing barriers to responsible data sharing and use, we aim to become the world’s number one data destination: an open, welcoming and secure environment where companies from all over the world can innovate and grow, and where data improves life for people across the UK.
3. Building a tech-savvy nation
We want every adult to have a base level of digital and cyber skills so that no-one is left behind by the digital revolution. Our apprenticeships, digital bootcamps and the Digital Entitlement will help set people up for the highly-skilled, highly-paid roles of the future, and give them the confidence to use the internet safely and securely, while our £520 million Help-to-Grow scheme will empower 100,000 businesses to adopt the latest tech.
4. Keeping the UK safe and secure online
Our digital economy is world-leading because people have trust in the technology that underpins it. Our online harms legislation will hold social media companies to account for the safety of their users while protecting free speech and expression, and the freedom of the press. We will also implement measures to make our networks more secure against cyber threats, including by legislating to ensure that critical technologies of the future are “secure by design”.
5. Fueling a new era of startups and scaleups
The UK is the tech powerhouse of Europe, attracting more investment than France and Germany combined. Our trailblazing pro-competition Digital Markets Unit will build on this incredibly strong foundation – opening up the market to new and innovative tech companies. By creating the right environment for companies to access growth capital at every stage of their cycle, we will secure our status as one of the most attractive countries in the world to start and grow a digital business.
6. Unleashing the transformational power of tech and AI
Artificial intelligence has the potential to fundamentally transform our lives. The UK already has a strategic advantage in this new frontier, and our upcoming National Artificial Intelligence Strategy, which we will publish later this year, will help us build on our world-class research and innovation base. We will also work to solidify our global leadership in the development of quantum computing and other transformative tech.
7. Championing free and fair digital trade
As an independent nation with a thriving digital economy, the UK will lead the way in a new age of digital trade. We will ensure our trade deals include cutting-edge digital provisions, as we did with Japan, and forge new digital partnerships and investment opportunities across the globe.
8. Leading the global conversation on tech
As technology alters our world, the UK is helping set the new rules of engagement. We will continue to lead global efforts to boost digital competition, strengthening our reputation as a pro-tech, pro-innovation business environment. We will use our international voice and G7 Presidency to shape the global debate on how we govern tech companies; to champion our democratic values; and to coordinate work on telecoms diversification, ethical AI and other global challenges.
9. Leveling up digital prosperity across the UK
As we turbocharge our tech sector, we will ensure long-term digital prosperity is evenly spread across the entire country. Many of our most exciting tech companies are already based outside of London, and we will continue to support these hubs by building on regional innovation, regional strengths and regional specialisms, while enabling businesses in every UK postcode to seize the opportunities of the digital economy.
10. Using digital innovation to reach Net Zero
British-built climate tech and conservation tech can help us address one of the greatest challenges of our time. In the run-up to COP26 in Glasgow, we will support the uptake of technologies that reduce carbon emissions and help us restore our biodiversity, and give British businesses the digital tools to reduce their own emissions as we drive forward a Green Industrial Revolution.