There is just a matter of days to go until the government brings to an end its major call for ideas on how to push the digital agenda forward.
At the end of 2015, digital economy minister Ed Vaizey called on the public to “challenge us” by sending in their thoughts as to how the government should build the digital economy up to 2020.
Vaizey accepted that “other countries are hot on our heels” and is calling for more ideas as “we want the UK to be synonymous with digital -a place where digital technologies transform day-to-day life, the economy and government.”
In his post announcing the call for submissions, Vaizey set out four key ingredients for success. These were “unlocking digital growth” so that the UK is “the default place entrepreneurs want to start new digital business”, transforming government so that “interacting with government is as simple and seamless as possible”, transforming everyday life in areas such as education, health, and transport, and increasing internet access to build the foundations of the digital economy as well as the government’s investment in cyber security.
He said “a revolution began” in 2010 as the Tech City hub developed in East London, but new ideas are needed as the landscape changes as the years go by.
He wrote: “Early [in 2016], we’ll set out a new Digital Strategy for the UK, looking to the next five years. Working with colleagues across government it will set the agenda for the rest of the Parliament on digital, so that the UK continues to lead the way.”
Vaizey said that on the back of the suggestions he wants to continue “nurturing the digital frontier,” so that the UK is “firmly planting our stake in the digital global market, and getting the world to buy into our success.”
The minister has previously highlighted that one of the key challenges in the UK digital economy is the finance and funding environment. “At the moment finance is part of the difference between the US and the UK” he told CBR in an exclusive interview, “it’s not a difference in skills, it’s not a difference in entrepreneurial zeal.”
Vaizey pointed to Northern Tech and Tech City as successes that have happened in since the Conservatives went into government. However, his opposite number, Labour’s Chi Onwurah, told CBR that she believes Vaizey is “letting down the country”
It is clear what her main suggestion would be – an integrated industrial strategy for the digital economy, which she says Vaizey has failed to deliver over the last few years. She has also called for greater adult education to make sure older people are not excluded from the technology revolution, and to make sure everyone has basic digital skills.
If you have ideas you can get in touch with the Department of Culture, Media, and Sport up until the 19th of January 2016 with your ideas about shaping the UK’s digital economy up to 2020 by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.