The UK Government has set out its strategy to grow the economic contribution of digital businesses from £118bn to £200bn by 2025 in a wide-ranging document aiming to make the UK the best place to start and grow a digital business.
The raft of objectives covering infrastructure, education, data and security, public services and other areas aims to accelerate growth of the UK’s estimated 200,000 digital enterprises which are believed to support 1.4m UK jobs.This includes fast-growing digital centres in Southhampton, West Cornwall and Dundee and key northern cities, as well as the the biggest cluster of digital businesses in London and south east. Digital sectors also attracted a record £1.57bn of equity finance in 2015, more than four times the level of 2011.
The report lists six UK sectors in which the country is globally leading – artificial intelligence, cyber security, Fin Tech, gaming, virtual reality, and Gov Tech – and other sectors, such as advertising and design, in which a fusion of digital and creative expertise give the UK an international lead. Developing areas such as the Internet of Things, Autonomous Vehicle Technologies, Health Tech and Ed Tech are seen as providing further opportunities.
As part of its seven strand digital strategy, the Government aims to:
- Improve digital infrastructure by completing the rollout of 4G and superfast broadband, and giving every individual, business and premise the right to request affordable high speed brodband;
- Establish a new digital skills partnership and adopt the recommendations of a review to ensure computer science students have up to date, real world skills;
- Use its Autumn 2016 pledge to invest £4.7bn in R&D funding by 2020-21 to ensure British business benefits from scientific and technological breakthroughs;
- Support the work of a new Productivity Council to encourage appropriate use of technologies across the economy;
- Support the National Cyber Security Centre and introduce new active cyber defence approach;
- Implement the Government Transformation Strategy, including by working towards 25m GOV.UK users by 2020;
- Act to make the UK a world-leading, data-driven economy, including by implementing the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation by May 2018.
The strategy applies the framework set out by the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy green paper, published in January 2017.
Announcing the digital strategy, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, the Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP said:“This Digital Strategy applies this framework to the digital economy across the whole country. It will boost our world-leading digital sectors and overcome barriers to growth and innovation, creating more of the high-skilled, high paid jobs of the future. It will deliver the first-class digital infrastructure and advanced skills base that businesses across the country need to be able to take advantage of digital tools.”