Britain Best Place in the World to Start and Grow a Digital Business

UK Culture Secretary Karen Bradley has launched the UK Digital Strategy, which includes a target to make Britain the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business.

Businesses have played an important role developing the strategy. To capitalise on these new relationships and deliver a thriving, outward-looking digital economy, the strategy also sets out plans to empower innovative businesses and deliver world-class connectivity. This includes:

The creation of five international tech hubs in emerging markets to create and develop partnerships between UK companies and local tech firms. These hubs will help provide British businesses with a global competitive edge and drive collaboration on skills, innovation, technology, and research and development. The hubs will be based upon the successful UK-Israel Tech Hub which to date has delivered more than 80 partnerships with a deal value of £62 million.
A new competition to spark the development of new FinTech products that can support those who struggle to access financial services and provide consumers with the tools they need to manage their finances well. This will build on the UK’s existing lead in the FinTech sector, which was worth more than £6.6bn in 2015, and make sure the digital economy works for all, not just the privileged few.

A commitment to create a Secretary of State-led forum for government and the tech community to work together to spark growth in the digital economy - through innovation and the adoption of digital in the wider economy.
A Business Connectivity Forum, to be chaired by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, to bring together business organisations, local authorities and communications providers to help businesses access fast, affordable and reliable broadband.

Confirmation of £1billion programme to keep Britain at the forefront of digital connectivity,announced at Autumn Statement. This funding will accelerate the development and uptake of next generation digital infrastructure - including full fibre broadband plans and 5G.

Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Karen Bradley said:

"The UK’s world-leading digital sectors are a major driver of growth and productivity, and we are determined to protect and strengthen them.

"This Digital Strategy sets a path to make Britain the best place to start and grow a digital business, trial a new technology, or undertake advanced research as part of the Government’s plan to build a modern, dynamic and global trading nation.

To do that, we will work closely with businesses and others to make sure the benefits and opportunities are spread across the country so nobody is left behind.

There should be no digital divide - every individual and every business should have the skills and confidence to make the most of digital technology and have easy access to high-quality internet wherever they live, work, travel or learn."

At the heart of the strategy are steps to ensure everyone can develop the skills they need to thrive in an increasingly digital world and measures to help businesses harness the benefits of innovation.

Government has taken the lead in this area and has committed to help adults who lack core digital skills to access training free of charge, similar to the approach taken for literacy and numeracy. The strategy builds on this by establishing a Digital Skills Partnership and, as part of the Digital Strategy, Government has secured the following new pledges from private sector organisations.

Josh Hardie, CBI Deputy Director-General, said:

"UK companies are at the forefront of the digital revolution. The pledges announced by the Government underline businesses’ commitment to build the skills we need for a modern economy, as well as tackle barriers to technology adoption.

To uphold our position as a world-leading digital economy businesses, we and the Government need to work together - the strategy’s focus on skills, connectivity and innovation provide a useful framework for this."

Gerard Grech, chief executive, Tech City UK, said:

"The UK’s tech sector is rapidly becoming a global force to reckon with, but we must ensure that we stay ahead by continuing to provide a supportive environment for British startups and digital companies to grow in, especially since other countries are trying to take advantage of our departure from the European Union. In the UK tech sector jobs are being created at twice the rate of the wider economy, and today’s Digital Strategy provides an ambitious road map for the industry to continue growing at this rate and building a new economy fit for the future."

The strategy also contains new measures to support Britain’s world leading AI sector, as well as the UK Government Transformation Strategy which maps out how Government will transform the relationship between the citizen and the state to improve public services. This has ambitions to make it as easy to renew your passport or report a crime as it is to buy a book online, and aims to sign up to 25 million people onto the Government identity service Verify by 2020."