Digital Minister Chris Philp revealed details about the new strategy during a panel yesterday at the start of London Tech Week. He said: “Developed economies face long-term challenges around growth, productivity and real wages. Just as Thatcher unleashed the power of the market to transform our economy in the 1980s, unleashing the power of the tech sector will transform our economy today.”
Mr Philp added: “In the last five years the UK has raced ahead of Europe to become a global tech leader.
“Now we’re setting the course for the future.
“The Digital Strategy is the roadmap we will follow to strengthen our global position as a science and technology superpower.
“Our future prosperity and place in the world depends on it.”
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI)’s director of Innovation, Naomi Weir, has welcomed the arrival of the new digital strategy.
She said: “We’re glad the Government has heard our calls for a single vision for the digital economy, and the importance of streamlined regulation that supports investment and innovation.
“At a time when the country is facing fierce headwinds, in the form of inflation and supply chain challenges, unleashing investment is more crucial than ever.
“The digital sector is a bright spot in our economy, and an area where we’re punching above our weight internationally.
“We can’t waste a moment in bringing this strategy to life, with action required on skills, regulation, cutting-edge tech adoption, and championing the role of digital trade.
“Business and the CBI stand ready to work with [the] government to make it happen.”
According to the Government, the plan will cement the government’s ambitions across six areas that are “essential” for sustained digital growth.
These include rolling out world-class digital infrastructure; stimulating ideas, innovation and research in the technologies of the future like AI, quantum computing and semiconductors; and strengthening the UK’s tech talent pipeline.
This, the Government said, will cover “every stage from school to lifelong learning”, as well as a “comprehensive suite of vias to attract the brightest minds from around the world”.
As part of this, the UK is establishing a Digital Skills Council to tackle the current skills gap by encouraging companies to invest in employee training.
The remaining areas of focus in the strategy are encouraging investment in digital growth, ensuring a nationwide approach and becoming a global tech leader.
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New figures released yesterday have revealed that 950 UK tech startups and scaleups have secured a whopping £12.4 billion in venture capital funding already this year — which is more in just five months than was acquired during the entirety of 2020.
This puts the UK ahead of China and just behind the US in terms of tech funding.
Government figures indicate that the UK tech sector is now growing more than two-and-a-half times faster than the economy as a whole.
And last year, so-called tech “unicorns” — private companies with a valuation of at least $1billion (£820million) — were created at a rate of one every 11 days, more than double that of 2017 when the government launched its first digital strategy.
According to MailOnline, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Nadine Dorries said: “Our small island is now only second to the US, and almost at the very top of the global league table.”
Speaking at London Tech Week, Ms Dorries also asserted that the government’s new digital strategy will help the UK to become a “global tech superpower”.