Home Cyberpsychology & Technology Labour’s Victory Sparks Hope in the UK Tech Sector for Strategic Innovation and Growth

Labour’s Victory Sparks Hope in the UK Tech Sector for Strategic Innovation and Growth

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This time last year, the UK published a roadmap for reaching tech superpower status by 2030 through a new International Technology Strategy, which would build on the strength of its tech sector, and promote the UK as a place for investment and collaboration in future technologies. But with Labour’s recent win in the general election, the tech industry is set to establish its hopes and needs from the new government taking over.

Tech is estimated to be worth US$1 trillion (or £759 billion) to the overall economy, where Government support, private investments, and a healthy start-up culture have all contributed to its expansion. According to the Digital Economy Council tech grew 1000% between 2010 and 2020, and in the first quarter of 2024, the ONS predicts the UK has around 904,000 job vacancies with 10% of those being within tech – a 70% increase in vacancies over the past 20 years. 

Focus points  

In the International Technology Strategy, five key areas are supposed to drive innovation and economic growth in the coming years:  

  • AI
  • Quantum technologies
  • Engineering biology
  • Semiconductors
  • Telecoms
  • Data regulation

The former Conservative government has specifically been focusing its efforts on leading AI innovation, which it hoped to become a global leader of, with its recent AI Summit at Bletchley Park, and the UK’s lead position in The Seoul Declaration. According to tech giant Microsoft, AI is said to be able to boost the UK’s GDP by a further £550 billion, and since 2016, has attracted more than £20 billion in private investment.

Besides AI, they launched a number of initiatives to set their tech targets in motion. They pledged a £1.1 billion package to “skill up” the UK with the aim of training students in AI, and a new independent institute will be tasked with building on the government’s £1 billion strategy to grow the semiconductor sector. 

But in light of the general election, various industry associations have noted several potential opportunities that Labour could undertake, to minimise some of the current long-term challenges the country faces. 

Industry bodies and potential challenges 

Industry voices, like those from the trade association TechUK, emphasise the importance of a clear and comprehensive strategy that addresses several factors such as the scale-up economy. 

Tech business leaders want the politicians of tomorrow to set out detailed action plans on how they will remove the barriers to the ambitions of the tech sector and address the threats to technological innovation for the UK such as regulatory hurdles, the investment in digital infrastructure, and addressing cyber security vulnerabilities at a national level. 

Many have also voiced a need to grow the UK’s digital technology infrastructure and increase compute uptake capacity. Critical infrastructure such as data centres in Britain and GPU computing power and capacity is required to level up, as of November 2022 the UK only held a 1.3% share.

Simon Yeoman, from cloud hosting experts Fasthosts, said: “As we continue throughout 2024, like many other sectors in tech, the data hosting centre industry is making some significant advancements, with one of the most exciting developments being the integration of AI within data centres that we’re already seeing happening.

“However, an increase in cloud infrastructure and edge computing are key in shaping the future of data storage, just as well as promoting scalability, green tech, and setting up strong security measures to create an impermeable future. With the right Government support tailored to the industry’s visions, we will be able to develop and enforce new frameworks that will help ensure the viable growth of the tech sector.” 

Wants and needs of the next Labour government 

To achieve its ambitions, the UK tech industry requires supportive regulations that balance innovation-friendly policies with necessary safeguards. The next Labour government should align its vision for the industry through a pro-growth regulatory model, and expand initiatives like the upskill and semiconductor sprints to foster finance options, talent acquisition, and market expansion for tech firms across the UK. 

By tackling economic prosperity, innovation, and resilience while addressing societal challenges effectively, we will better be able to establish robust frameworks and ensure future viability and global competitiveness.   

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