IT Planning & Management

Viewpoint: techUK Manifesto

For centuries, British industry has worked to develop, produce and export great British technology. So far this is a ‘great’ British success story. The UK is already the world’s most developed market for eCommerce and is regularly described as the world’s leading internet economy.

Digital technologies are today transforming all aspects of our business and personal lives as well as the delivery of government services.

Our collective opportunity is to now move on to be one of the first developed economies to use digital technology to stem the long-term rise of debt; raise productivity; generate new high value jobs; and build a safe and inclusive digital society. This is an objective that I truly believe is within our grasp.

This is why techUK have launched and published our Manifesto entitled ‘Securing our Digital Future’. It urges politicians and policy-makers to recognise the critical significance of the global digital revolution. Voters understand that their future and the future of their children depends upon how well the UK economy and society adapts to the new digital world.

The manifesto outlines how the next five years are crucial for the UK, not just to be a digital leader but to use digital technologies to tackle the fundamental long-term social and economic challenges for the next generation.

The document sets out what the next government, working in collaboration with industry, must do to build on progress already achieved to secure our digital potential.  We have four main ‘calls to action’ that we strongly believe will secure our digital future.

Firstly, we advocate powerful new UK leadership roles in government, EU and beyond. We calls for the appointment of dedicated Digital Ministers in every department, a new Chief Privacy Officer, a new FCO Digital Trade Tsar and a leading voice in Europe. The next government should set a clear objective to double UK tech exports by 2020, bringing billions of extra value to the UK economy and supporting integrated trade such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) for the tech sector.

Secondly, we need a comprehensive package of science, innovation and talent. In the UK, one in seven start-ups was founded by a migrant. So we call for a ‘smart migration’ policy that allows high growth companies to tap in to the world’s best talent, alongside measures to strengthen the pipeline of home grown skills. We also want a 10-year innovation budget that extends beyond parliamentary cycles as a platform for long term growth.

Thirdly, there has to be ‘digital-trust-by-default’ across the public and private sector. As a country we have to be a world-leading domain in data protection, with a commitment to free speech on the web and a clear legal framework for government surveillance. There is also a need to strengthen public confidence in the use of data, with 18% of individuals reporting ‘loss of privacy’ as a drawback of innovation. Without trust many tech companies will struggle and the government needs to be at the forefront of balancing the rights of the individual with the needs of tech innovation.  

Finally, the next government must also ensure that the whole of the UK benefits from tech, ensuring jobs and growth beyond the South East of England and doubling the digital participation of SMEs across all industries. We call for government to commit to properly fund a digital inclusion programme to ensure that everyone has basic online skills by 2020, and that no one is left behind by digital innovation.

There's no doubt we are moving in the right direction. There has been a steep change in understanding just how significant these changes are and that we are in a global race. The next five years must be about bringing greater scale and pace to the digital transformation of our country. From skills to infrastructure, digital government to digital health, we have to think big and get the job done. Get it right and the action we take over the next five years can secure our digital future for the next thirty.

The full manifesto is available at


Julian David is CEO of techUK



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