As the Secretary of State responsible for tech, I have the privilege of overseeing one of the UK’s most important sectors - important not just for its value to the UK economy, but also for its potential to change the world for the better. In my first six months in this role I’ve seen the cutting-edge work under way in the UK, from cloud computing to virtual reality.
This government is committed to seeing this enormous potential fulfilled - to ensuring the UK is the best place to start and grow a digital business, trial a new technology, or undertake advanced research - and that the UK digital sectors remain world-leading. This requires supportive regulation but also first-class digital infrastructure and an advanced skills base.
And this approach must go hand-in-hand with ensuring the benefits are felt across the economy, throughout society and in every corner of the country. Every individual and every business should have the skills and confidence to seize the opportunities of digital technology and have easy access to high-quality internet wherever they live, work, travel or learn.
In January the government published its Industrial Strategy green paper, which set out our ambition to build an economy which works for everyone by building on the UK’s strategic strengths and tackling our underlying weaknesses. This Digital Strategy applies this framework to the digital economy across the whole country. It will boost our world-leading digital sectors and overcome barriers to growth and innovation, creating more of the high-skilled, high-paid jobs of the future. It will deliver the first-class digital infrastructure and advanced skills base that businesses across the country need to be able to take advantage of digital tools. And it will close the digital divide - to ensure that everyone is able to access and use the digital services that could help them manage their lives, progress at work, improve their health and wellbeing, and connect to friends and family.
At its core, that is the ambition of this Strategy - to create a world-leading digital economy that works for everyone. It is part of this government’s Plan for Britain, strengthening our economy for the long term as we take advantage of the opportunities that leaving the European Union provides.
But publishing this Strategy is just the start, and delivering its ambitious vision will require a joint effort. Government has worked closely with the tech community to put this Strategy together, and I am establishing a new forum to ensure our relationship continues to flourish. I hope it will mark the beginning of a new phase of close engagement between Government and the tech sectors, and am looking forward to working side-by-side to make our digital economy both stronger and fairer.
The Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport