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WHAT COULD THE GENERAL ELECTION HOLD FOR THE TECH INDUSTRY?

Wednesday 6th May 2015
The General election is only a day away and many voters have already decided on who they will be voting for.

For the tech community there could be a lot riding on tomorrow’s election.

It has been highlighted many times how politicians cannot under estimate or overlook the technology sector. In this blog we’ll round up what exactly some of these prospective leading parties intend to invest in technology to further prosper our economy and British lives.

Each party has made election pledges to improve Britain’s technology from start-ups, better surveillance, code clubs, rural broadband and 4g coverage.

What do these pledges mean for the tech industry and for a digital Britain?

Here are just some of the pledges made by the election contenders.

THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY

The conservatives have highlighted technology as being a key ingredient in driving our country forward and have made it a key feature in their election manifesto.

Improving broadband will be top priority for the Tories and follows commitments made by David Cameron earlier in the year to throw 50 million at free Wi-Fi across trains and other methods of public transport to improve our connectivity as a nation.

Mobile coverage will also see a boost. With big investments and focus on improving mobile infrastructure. As the Tories intend to have 90% of UK landmass with mobile coverage.

The conservatives have also highlighted how they intend to support emerging technologies. With £40 million planned for investments in the Internet of things and big data. Both things set to transform banking systems the NHS and everyday life in the upcoming future.

Tories also back the support of small businesses and tech start-ups. Promising to extend start up loans from £130 million to £300 million if elected and will boost apprenticeships in science and technology.

Code clubs will also be backed by the conservatives, hoping to close the gender gap in technology by getting more girls involved in technology from a young age. Which could increase the number of opportunities in the future in the tech industry for both male and females.

The Tories intend to tackle flaws with surveillance to use technology to make our country safer“Our new communications data legislation will strengthen our ability to disrupt terrorist plots, criminal networks and organised child grooming gangs as we continue to invest in developing technology”

LABOUR PARTY

Labour have placed digital technology at the heart of many of its policies for growth, education and public sector reform.

Almost every major section of the Labour manifesto makes mention of the importance of technology and innovation in supporting its proposals for the next government.

The labour party also like the Tories promise to boost UK broadband services. Labour has criticised current efforts by the Tories as focusing on speed over coverage.

Labour also highlights how they would like to invest significantly into new technologies such as 3D printing to enhance the health system.

In terms of start-ups and SMBs, Labour said that it has a number of plans to help fledgling tech firms get off the ground and succeed. It promises to freeze business rates for small companies and to boost lending through a new British Investment Bank. 

Labour like many of the other contenders support technology in schools eg. Code clubs to get more and more young people with digital skills.

Labour also like the conservatives are intending to incorporate tech to make our country safer “We will need to update our investigative laws to keep up with changing technology, strengthening both the powers available, and the safeguards that protect people’s privacy.”

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS


The Liberal Democrats aim to offer a lot of commitments to the technology sector. For instance the Liberal Democrats aim to have 99.9% of the UK covered by fast broadband, however no set date has been applied as to when this can be set to be put in place.

The Lib Dems plan to build on the success of London’s Tech City and other tech clusters such as the tech north to support growing businesses and could create a million jobs over 20 years. Their manifesto also claims the party could channel more funds into innovation and tech centres in the UK.

The Liberal Democrats also want to develop cutting-edge digital skills courses for young people and the unemployed, working with private sector employers and education and training providers.

The manifesto by the Lib Dems also claims to be devoted to boosting tech talent in the UK. By for example creating more foundation degrees, higher national diplomas and higher education courses.

UKIP and the SNP do not have a technology policy in their manifesto (though UKIP does say students studying degrees in technology, maths, medicine, engineering and science will not have to repay tuition fees, with the condition that they work in the UK for five years after graduation).

The Greens made a promise to increase research in science from 0.5 per cent of GDP one per cent by 2025.

Plaid Cymru emphasises that our children should understand the technology that surrounds them, through coding and advanced computer technology development lessons, and they mention specifically the Raspberry Pi device.

We want to hear from the tech community. Who’s got your vote and why?

Tweet us @amsourcetech
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