THE UK government has set up a panel to investigate how to ensure the UK’s digital economy remains competitive.
The panel will be chaired by Harvard professor Jason Furman, who previously advised former US President Barack Obama.
Professor Jason Furman was an economic adviser during the Obama administration, chairing the Council of Economic Advisers from August 2013 to January 2017 and acting as both chief economist and a member of the cabinet.
In academia, he has conducted research in a wide range of areas including: fiscal policy, competition policy, tax policy, health economics and international and domestic macroeconomics.
The Treasury estimates data-driven technology could be worth £60bn a year to the UK economy by 2020 but wants to ensure the economic environment remains supportive.
“The UK is leading the way in the digital revolution,” said chancellor Philip Hammond. “Our tech sector is now worth over £116bn and a new digital job is being created in this country every 50 minutes.
“This is something to be proud of, but at the same time it is only right that we ask the big questions about how we ensure these new digital markets work for everyone.
“I am therefore pleased to appoint Professor Furman to lead this important work. His experience will be invaluable as we ensure that our market regulating institutions are fit for purpose in the digital age.”
The panellists will have in-depth knowledge of competition law and digital markets and will examine competition issues, how to handle mergers, the impact of having data held by a few big companies and the pros and cons of digital markets becoming concentrated.
“While digital markets have produced significant consumer benefits, including in the UK, we need to fully understand how competition policy needs to adapt going forward,” Furman said.
“Our focus needs to be on ensuring that consumers continue to benefit from these new technologies while maximizing the innovative potential from the economy.
“I am pleased to lead this panel and look forward to bringing my experience to this important piece of work of international interest.”