The Conservative Technology Forum (CTF) has launched an action plan to lift the UK "significantly upwards from its middle ranking position among developed countries in exploiting digital technology" should the party win this year’s expected general election.
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The World Economic Forum currently ranks the UK number 12 in the world when it comes to citizens, companies and government making effective use of ICT - last year the UK was number 15. According to analyst Ovum, the UK has the most widespread availability of broadband of all the G7 nations.
Launched by shadow IT Minister Michael Fabricant and European technology spokesman Malcolm Harbour MEP, the CTF wants to step up broadband connectivity with a network capable of delivering "interactive video for all" by 2020.
The CTF supports "light touch" regulation that will encourage investment in next generation networks. And it expects wireless networks will play an increasing role in reaching remote communities.
The action plan also calls for improved management of government ICT programmes, the further development of e-government and the rationalisation of private citizen databases.
In addition, the CTF has called for more specialist resources for local police forces to deal with computer crime, and a central unit for dealing with paedophile investigations is also recommended.
On health, the CTF is sceptical about Labour’s centralised approach to patients' records currently being adopted, and proposes a re-appraisal of a more de-centralised approach.
"This action plan offers practical policies which an incoming Conservative administration must seriously consider. The plan shows our joined up approach to policy making and our determination to move the UK to the front rank of digital economies," said Fabricant.