[In early 2016] we’ll set out a new Digital Strategy for the UK, looking to the next five years. Working with colleagues across government it will set the agenda for the rest of the Parliament on digital, so that the UK continues to lead the way.
‘When people want to start a digital business, trial new ways of working or invest in cutting-edge technology, we want them to choose the UK. This is about nurturing the digital frontier, firmly planting our stake in the digital global market, and getting the world to buy into our success. This revolution is here to stay, and the UK as the ‘Tech Nation’ is the future we want to be building.’
Vaizey is calling on industry to provide its thoughts on the future of the UK’s digital strategy. Stakeholders are urged to send their ideas to digitalstrategy@culture/gov.uk by 19 January.
Particular focus is sought on the following areas:
Unlocking digital growth
‘I want the UK to be the default place entrepreneurs want to start new digital business over any other tech hub in the world from Silicon Valley to Shanghai, scaling up to be global brands. From fintech to the sharing economy, we’ve already done much to make sure our regulations keep pace with technology, but simply updating regulations is not enough.
‘We need to take bold steps to create an open and flexible environment for digital innovation that crosses country borders. This means pushing for the completion of the Digital Single Market in Europe, which could create a €415 billion boost of economic growth for the region.
‘But this isn’t even just about the ‘tech’ sector. Every business can benefit from using digital technology – from hairdressers and corner shops to the big car makers, and everything in between. So how can we make sure we support businesses to make the most of this potential?’
‘The UK is already seen as a pioneer in digital government – when the US government created USA.gov they copied our model. But government services need to be as good as the best consumer services. My colleague Matt Hancock is bringing renewed energy to this agenda, driving a transformation to create what he calls a ‘smartphone state’. Renewing your passport should be as easy as buying a book online, so what more can we do to make sure interacting with government is as simple and seamless as possible?’
Transforming day to day life
‘New technologies are changing every aspect of our lives. We need to make sure that wherever government is involved – as the service provider, regulator, or a major buyer – we are making the most of it.
‘In education, universities and colleges are already using massive open online courses – MOOCs as they’re called – so lectures and courses can reach a much wider audience, costing less. Could schools benefit from similar innovations?
‘In the NHS, it’s already moving from a largely paper-based system to a digital-by-default. What more can we do to make our health system more efficient and joined up, so that our amazing doctors and nurses can spend more time saving lives and improving care?
‘From driverless cars to deliveries by drone – the future imagined by far-fetched science fiction films from only a few years ago is rapidly coming true. How can we make sure the UK is at the cutting edge of these developments?’
Building the foundations
‘We need to get the fundamental areas right to make everything else possible.
‘On connectivity we’re on track to deliver superfast broadband to 95 per cent of the UK by the end of 2017 – and we’re planning to make it a legal right for every home and business in the UK to request fast broadband. But fixed broadband is just part of the solution. We’re working to make Internet access ubiquitous, so everyone can access it whenever and wherever they need it.
‘As more of our lives are conducted online, the need to keep ourselves safe from criminals and terrorists increases. But we mustn’t let these real dangers prevent us from accessing all the benefits of a digital economy. That’s why we’re spending £1.9 billion over the next five years through the National Cyber Security Programme.
‘Given digital is in everything, digital skills are increasingly vital for everyone’s lives. It’s estimated around 90% of all jobs over the next 20 years will require some level of digital skills, so we need to make sure they’re at the heart of our education system, and that people can keep their skills updated throughout their lives.’
You can send your thoughts to email@example.com until 19th January.
Vaizey’s full statement can be found at the DCMS website.