UK government publishes digital strategy

Government-led initiative aims to help both businesses and individuals and make sure “no one is left behind”

The UK wants to be the best place to start and grow a digital business
The UK wants to be the best place to start and grow a digital business

The UK wants to make Britain the best place in the world to launch and grow a digital business

UK Culture secretary launches a Digital Strategy to create a digital economy that works for everyone

The government is enlisting UK plc to help deliver on some of the aims of its new digital agenda announced today.


The long-awaited Digital Strategy, unveiled by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), is placing skills, infrastructure and innovation at the heart of its five-year programme intended to create a world-leading digital economy.


This includes formation of a new digital skills partnership which will see government, business, charities and voluntary organisations coming together to make sure people have the right skills for the jobs in their area and are aware of all the digital training opportunities on offer.


Lloyds Banking Group plans to deliver face-to-face digital skills training to 2.5 million individuals, charities and small and medium businesses by 2020; Barclays has committed to teach basic coding to 45,000 more children and assist up to one million people with general digital skills and cyber awareness; and Google has pledged to give five hours of free digital skills for everyone, to help boost digital skills in seaside towns.


“The UK’s world-leading digital sectors are a major driver of growth and productivity, and we are determined to protect and strengthen them,” said Karen Bradley, secretary of state for culture, media and sport.


“This Digital Strategy sets a path to make Britain the best place to start and grow a digital business, trial a new technology, or undertake advanced research as part of the Government’s plan to build a modern, dynamic and global trading nation.


“To do that, we will work closely with businesses and others to make sure the benefits and opportunities are spread across the country so nobody is left behind.”


The strategy also sets out plans to empower innovative businesses and deliver world-class connectivity. This includes:


  • Creation of five international tech hubs in emerging markets to create and develop partnerships between UK companies and local tech firms.


  • A competition to spark the development of new FinTech products that can support those who struggle to access financial services and provide consumers with the tools they need to manage their finances well.


  • A Business Connectivity Forum, to be chaired by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, to bring together business organisations, local authorities and communications providers to help businesses access fast, affordable and reliable broadband.


  • Confirmation of £1bn programme to keep Britain at the forefront of digital connectivity. Funding will accelerate the development and uptake of next generation digital infrastructure -- including full fibre broadband plans and 5G.


One of the bodies namechecked in the strategy report for several of its digital programmes was Digital Catapult which welcomed its publication.


“This symbolises a tipping point for the UK economy; it is a great statement of digital opportunity for all. As a nation we are taking strides in artificial intelligence, 5G, the Internet of Things and Immersive technologies,“ said Dr Jeremy Silver, CEO, Digital Catapult, several of whose programmes were namechecked in the report.


"It is fantastic to see the Government’s ongoing commitment today to delivering value from these technologies. It is these future networks and emerging technologies which will help us build world leading digital sectors and act as economic drivers across many sectors of the whole economy.


"For the potential of this new wave of innovation to be fully realised, every person has a role to play; from policymakers and industry to academics and citizens, broad collaboration will be needed to deliver a digital economy which thrives and drives productivity right across the UK.”


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