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Digital skills and levelling up at the heart of UK Digital Strategy

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 13 Jun 2022

The new UK Digital Strategy includes plans for developing digital skills, Levelling Up infrastructure and finance options for fintech startups.

The government has launched its new UK Digital Strategy as part of London Tech Week, with strong links to its Levelling Up agenda, including digital infrastructure, skills and economic growth.

“Developed economies face long-term challenges around growth, productivity and real wages,” Digital Minister Chris Philp told a London Tech Week panel event. “Just as Thatcher unleashed the power of the market to transform our economy in the 1980s, unleashing the power of the tech sector will transform our economy today.

“In the last five years the UK has raced ahead of Europe to become a global tech leader and now we’re setting the course for the future. The Digital Strategy is the roadmap we will follow to strengthen our global position as a science and technology superpower. Our future prosperity and place in the world depends on it.”

The strategy focuses on six critical areas.

Digital foundations

This updates the Plan for Digital Regulation and the supply-side offer to the digital economy. This includes a focus on: digital infrastructure; data; regulation and digital markets; and security.

Ideas and intellectual property

The strategy consolidates the government’s work to support the innovation ecosystem, including in universities and the private sector. This builds on the Innovation Strategy with a specific focus on digital technology.

Digital skills and talent

This includes strengthening the digital education pipeline; increasing awareness of the pathways into digital occupations; work to develop an enhanced digital skills base; growing people’s access to digital skills through alternative routes; work with the private and third sectors; and the government’s reforms to enable UK firms to recruit global talent.

Financing digital growth

This demonstrates the government’s commitment to improving the tech ecosystem. This includes work to improve access to finance through the British Business Bank and British Patient Capital, encouraging the fintech sector, and the government’s push to make the UK the best place to list technology businesses.

Spreading prosperity and Levelling Up

This outlines the use of digital technologies to support the achievement of key strategic priorities: enhancing productivity through technology adoption; improving our public services; Levelling Up; and net zero.

Enhancing the UK’s place in the world

This focuses on how the UK will use its digital and tech sector to influence global decisions on digital development. It emphasises the government’s commitment to maintaining the UK’s science and technology status.

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