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A Year to the Election: What should the technology sector be calling for?

13/05/2014 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

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A Year to the Election

What should the technology sector be calling for?

Committee Room 5, House of Commons

Tuesday 13th May 2014

6pm – 8pm


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* Please note that “A Year to the Election” has reached capacity and Secretariat are no longer taking attendance requests.

.Apologies to those unable to attend, please find the event briefing below:



  • John Burn-Murdoch, Financial Times (Chair)
  • Antony Walker, Deputy CEO, Tech UK
  • Theo Bertram, UK Policy Manager, Google
  • Chi Onwurah MP, PICTFOR co-Chair and Shadow Cabinet Office Minister
  • Guy Levin, Executive Director, Coadec
  • Andy Green, Chair, Connected Digital Economy Catapult

Hosts: Chi Onwurah MP & Stephen Mosley MP, Co-chairs, PICTFOR

By 2016 UK technology companies are forecast to contribute 12.4% of GDP to the economy, contributing some £225bn overall. Not only is the sector a powerful driver of increased economic output and employment, but its inherently innovative nature underpins significant developments across many other industries. With only one year to go before the 2015 general election, this evening represents a timely opportunity for a discussion of the technology community’s political priorities for the year ahead. Looking ahead to the formal drafting of party manifestos, an expert panel will consider the range of policy ideas resonating from industry and debate how the technology sector’s capacity to support economic recovery can be strengthened.

Skills: It is widely acknowledged that the UK is facing a skills shortage in tech. The workplace of the future will require far more advanced digital skills and it is unlikely that the pace of skills-upgrade will slow. Therefore it is vital for the next Government to ensure that children are equipped with the skills they need to succeed and are capable of accessing the further education required to acquire the high level skills demanded by the UK’s leading technology firms. In addition to adapting the national curriculum to more closely reflect the growing requirement for technical and digital skills, the Government may need to reassess aspects of immigration policy if they are serious about enabling the UK tech sector to attract and retain the best in the industry and ‘win the global race.’

Security: Cyber-crime is one of the fastest growing criminal activities today, costing businesses millions every year and increasing the likelihood of catastrophic data losses and widespread leaks of private information. How can Government help the sector tackle its pressing security challenges when the threats to individual privacy, and risks to business profitability are so great? To ensure widespread confidence about the way in which personal data is used, Industry and Government must work together to minimise risks and provide necessary reassurances for companies and consumers alike.

Regulatory framework: Technology companies in the UK are responsible for developing some of the most transformative technologies of modern times, yet this kind of disruptive innovation often brings new dangers as well as wide ranging benefits. Recent developments in ICT have had an unparalleled effect on British society. The technology sectors capacity to enjoy continued success will depend in no small part on how successfully the risks associated with modern ICTs are managed. It is a balancing act of huge importance. Government and industry share a common purpose; to foster widespread confidence in interacting with new technologies. This can stem from a collective sense of security, maintained by a credible regulatory framework, and will be responsible for giving consumers the confidence they need to fully utilise the products and services on offer from innovative UK tech companies.

Business environment: With a competitive tax regime and excellent infrastructure, Britain is a great place to do business, but there is always room for improvement. Continued investment in world class digital infrastructure, the provision of more attractive R&D incentives and clear and effective intellectual property laws and processes would all serve to further establish the UK as an international technology hub.

Technology companies in the UK support myriad essential services and businesses across the globe. The activities undertaken by these companies, and the innovations they inspire, underpin the vital pan-sector growth being witnessed across the country.

The next general election will see technology take front and centre stage in the political parties’ thinking like never before. The parties will of course need to spell out their vision, but equally the sector needs to let the parties know how they can transform Britain.


6:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Committee Room 5
House of Commons