With the UK General Election only weeks away, the chest pumping, and ego stroking will only become more fabulous, but there might have been a few surprises to see a TechUK manifesto emerge.
Representing companies which employ roughly 50% of all tech employees in the UK, TechUK has unveiled its manifesto for the next sitting Parliament. The report features 25 recommendations to drive towards five core goals for the UK digital economy; digitising more public services, increasing investment, rethinking security policies, ensuring talent is developed in the UK and maintaining the strong position the UK currently holds in the global digital economy.
“To move forward towards a better future, we need to be both optimistic about the opportunities ahead and realistic about the challenges we face,” said Julian David, CEO of TechUK.
“The UK must build on its success not only to be the best place to start, grow and scale a tech business, but also to lead the world in using digital technology for good – to make things better for people, society, the economy and our planet.”
As it stands, the UK is in a useful position. Being one of the first to launch 5G, international investors will look at the small isles as an attractive proposition. As it did with 4G, the new connectivity landscape will encourage the creation of new business models, products and services. The last decade has seen the likes of Uber, AirBnB, Facebook, Amazon and Netflix, reach unprecedented heights of success and influence. But this success is as much a credit to the innovation-friendly landscape in the US as it is to the innovators at the heart of the companies.
This is where the risk lies for the UK. The current position looks promising, though there are plenty of risks present which are driving uncertainty. The Supply Chain Review, Brexit and the General Election are three events which have already introduced uncertainty, the enemy of progress, though whether this has a lasting impact on the UK’s position in the global economy remains to be seen.
As you can expect with such statements from an industry lobby group, the recommendations are not too extreme, but are perfectly logical to support the growth ambitions of the industry. More than anything else, this is perhaps a very timely nudge to politicians to have perhaps forgotten one aspect of their jobs is to drive the UK economy forward.
With all the bickering which is now second-nature to the House of Commons, the real risk is one of relevance. In the digital world, the UK is currently relevant, thanks partly to the aggressive push forward with 5G and fibre infrastructure, though whether that remains to be the case after the current political ding-dong is the big question.