The UK government has published Our 10 Tech Priorities, with a view to getting the UK back on its feet in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, among other things. The post is on the UK government's Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport site, and purportedly outlines "10 ways DCMS intends to deploy digital tech to build back better, safer and stronger from COVID, and shape a new golden age for tech in the UK". Since the publication, HEXUS has received some comments from investment and research organisations, and I will share summaries of these later.
So, what are the 10 points that will be "at the heart of our recovery"? You might not be surprised that the government post mentions technologies like; 5G investment, data processing, building digital and cyber skills in the UK population, security for the digital economy, building on the UK's status as the tech startup hub of Europe, unleashing AI with the upcoming National Artificial Intelligence Strategy, being a free and fair digital trade champion, shape the global debate on how we govern tech companies as part of the G7, making sure UK tech isn't so London-centric, aiming for net-zero carbon emissions via the latest home-grown climate and conservation tech.
The above ten tech priorities are laudable, but it provides just an outline, with not much meat on its bones. Execution and appropriate value targeted investments are what matters – two unhappy weaknesses of the current government, some might say. Nevertheless, statements I have received from various tech leaning organisations are roundly positive.
Samantha Smith, Founder and CEO of City broker and financial services firm finnCap, stated that "the Ten Tech Priorities are welcome and the correct ones for the UK, especially creating the right environment for companies to access growth capital at every stage of their cycle". Moreover, Smith agreed that now is the right and best time to "supercharge digital-enabled economic growth". However, she added a proviso, advising that Ministers "need to ensure the UK is attracting more high growth tech companies to list in London, for example by implementing the recommendations of the recent Hill Review".
Dan Ridsdale, Managing Director of Technology and Platform at Edison Group, welcomed the Ten Tech Priorities, particularly the focus on 'Cleantech' and the goal to achieve net zero carbon emissions. Ridsdale added that "the UK needs more scale up capital and more scale up expertise," with too many UK tech start-ups shooting for the goal of being acquired rather than actually fulfilling their promise. Such acquisitions often see promising UK tech contenders snapped up by US tech firms, for example. "There has never been a better time to focus on how tech can enable economic growth," concluded the Edison Group exec.
Secretary of State for @DCMS, Oliver Dowden, looks forward to ticking these boxes.