Digital Secretary of the UK, Oliver Dowden, reveals his top ten tech priorities for the government to usher in a new era of tech and transform the country to become the global leader in the technology space.
It is the first half of 2021 and the UK has already set out ambitious goals to recover from the devastation inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The government has recently announced its “Top Ten Tech Priorities” that provide an insight into its various initiatives.
The UK plans to roll out gigabyte and 5G networks to deliver exceptional digital infrastructure across the nation. It is planning to leverage data as it has become a driving force of modern economies. With the immense amount of data readily available across the internet, the UK plans to responsibly use it for improving the lives of its citizens.
To secure its workforce, the UK is planning to create programs that will equip its citizens with basic digital and cyber skills, to help in its endeavor to become a tech-savvy nation. “To spearhead economic recovery, it’s critical to invest in digital skills and training,” Paramjit Uppal, Founder and CEO, AND Digital states. He says, “Equipping people with the right technical capabilities to work in a world that is driven by software and data must be a key focus for every organization.”
“It’s reassuring to see that the UK government has launched a fellowship to attract tech talent into the public sector, an area that has massive opportunity to change every aspect of people’s lives through technology.
Championing advanced technical skills in this sector will drive efficiencies and growth and ultimately power public services for the social good. Although a promising start, there needs to be a sustained focus on acquiring, growing and retaining tech skills in new and accelerated ways, so it’s very much a work in progress,” adds Paramjit Uppal.
Currently, the UK has the highest number of tech companies in the entire Europe. Moreover, the country has successfully raised more capital investment than France and Germany put together.
However, with the country still experiencing the negative effects of the pandemic, many startups are looking for a way out. As Dan Risdale, Managing Director of Technology and Platform, Edison Group, puts it, “At present, too many UK tech startups work to an exit strategy of being acquired while relatively young rather than scaling into a significantly larger business.” Hence, it is critical for the UK to foster the right environment for companies to have easy access to growth capital at every stage of their fundraising/cycle. Taking such initiatives will also help the government to level up its digital prosperity.
To regain its prominent position in the digital trade, the UK is planning to use cutting-edge digital provisions as well as forge and strengthen its alliances across the globe.
Artificial Intelligence stands at the center stage of UK’s priorities. The government desires to unleash its power to become “the most pro-tech government” ever. With the AI strategy in place, the country expects it financial markets to regain an upward momentum by developing safe, ethical and trustworthy AI. By seizing its full potential, the UK government expects to create new jobs, confront climate change and enhance its public services.
Dan Risedale provides his thoughts and concludes, “The Ten Tech Priorities are a welcome step in the right direction and seem to suit the UK’s needs. We’re especially pleased to see a focus on Cleantech and using digital innovation to reach Net Zero as we believe the UK boasts some of the most promising companies addressing these areas.”
“It’s also welcome to see a focus on creating the right environment for companies to access growth capital at every stage of their cycle, particularly at the scale-up level, which is currently the key missing piece of the jigsaw for the UK’s tech companies. The recent UK Listing review goes some way to help here, but the UK needs more scale-up capital and more expertise.
Overall, these priorities are a positive development and, as we emerge from the pandemic and grapple with the societal and economic changes it has ushered in, there has never been a better time to focus on how tech can enable economic growth,” he adds.