New forum to boost UK digital economy

The Government's new Digital Economy Council (DEC) promises to bring together some of the most influential voices in the tech sector to stimulate growth and create new jobs.

The Council has been set up to provide a forum for collaboration and drive the Government's digital strategy forward. Its members include TechUK, Google, Facebook, Cisco, Dotforge, Coadec, TV Squared, BT and Apple.

The strategy includes plans to boost the nation's digital skills, infrastructure and innovation. It supports the Government's ambition to make the UK the best place to start and run a digital business.

The UK is already home to more than 200,000 digital businesses supporting more than 1.4 million jobs - with the fastest growing-digital hubs in Southampton, West Cornwall and Dundee.

Karen Bradley, the secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: "I'm delighted to be bringing together this powerful group of tech experts, industry leaders and global innovators to spearhead new growth in our thriving digital economy."

The first meeting of the Forum took place this week. It set out the priorities for the council for year ahead including looking at new ways to improve digital transformation within SMEs, boost the digital skills pipeline and better commercialise the UK's world-leading research.

Jacqueline de Rojas, president of industry body TechUK, said: "Tech can be a powerful growth engine of the UK economy post-Brexit. For that to happen there is much that we need to get right … I'm happy [the] Government is working with tech businesses to ensure that we unlock the next wave of digital growth."

The Government now plans to convene the Digital Economy Advisory Group to focus on the specific challenges and opportunities of starting and growing a tech business.

The seven pillars of the Government's Digital Strategy are:

  • building a world-class digital infrastructure for the UK;
  • giving everyone access to the digital skills they need;
  • making the UK the best place to start and grow a digital business;
  • helping every British business become a digital business;
  • making the UK the safest place in the world to live and work online;
  • maintaining the UK Government as a world leader in serving its citizens online;
  • unlocking the power of data in the UK economy and improving public confidence in its use.
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