Technology is integral to the nation’s economic recovery, culture secretary Oliver Dowden has claimed.
Speaking at the UK Tech Cluster Group’s Road to Recovery summit he said that for a V-shaped recovery to quickly bounce out of an upcoming recession, the technology sector must help traditional industries to adapt, survive and thrive by utilising technology. He said that this is particularly important with social distancing in place.
Dowden wants the industry to look at ways to build a skilled digital workforce across every region in the UK so people can shift into the digital or tech sectors or digitise their businesses.
He compared this to the US GI bill that gave American veterans the skills and qualifications to move into new areas of work after the second world war.
Dowden also wants the country to create the best data regime possible that allows businesses and public services to use and share information quickly, efficiently and ethically.
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“We’re living in a different world, and one that requires a different focus,” Dowden said.
“Tech must play a leading part in our recovery, and my department has been working hard over the past few weeks and indeed months to put it in the best possible position to do so.
“Of course one of the great things about the UK is that we are a nation of innovators, a nation of entrepreneurs and a nation of inventors, and our tech industry is already very strong.
“Many of you already know that we are third globally, only behind the U.S. and China, and consistently outperforming the rest of Europe. But I want us not to be complacent but build on that strength.”
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Downden announced that the government will be publishing a new digital strategy in the Autumn, which will reflect the new post-Covid-19 realities.
“Now I know we’ve had previous digital strategies before and they’ve addressed all kinds of important questions and challenges for the tech industry,” he said.
“Such as how to build 21st century digital infrastructure or how to make the UK the safest place to go online.
“These are all still important questions, and must continue to form a central part of all government thinking on digital.
“Right now, our clear priority must be growth. Using tech to power us out of the recession, to drive productivity and create jobs in all parts of the industry, region by region, and indeed all parts of our economy.”