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Tech sector must have a voice over what happens next

Voices in the business and tech communities have called for the government to listen more to IT firms as they draw up post Brexit plans

Tech firms should have a say in what comes next after Brexit in terms of the Government's digital strategy with the current efforts no longer reflecting the world we now live in.

The expectations were that the Digital Strategy would have been published shortly but lobby group techUK has called for it to be re-written and for the industry to have an input into the finished document.

The call for the rewrite was one of the suggestions in a five point plan to help boost the IT sector after the Brexit decision.

"A new Digital Strategy was expected to be published shortly and now needs to be re-written.  Government should do this in collaboration with tech businesses. The Government should publish the existing strategy now as a draft and seek inputs from business about how it can be made fit for purpose for the challenges and opportunities ahead," stated techUK.

"The UK has one chance to get this right. The approach must be strategic and comprehensive, looking at the whole of the UK’s tech ecosystem. It will fail if it is a collection of headline grabbing gimmicks," the organisation added.

That reference to the ecosystem means that distributors and resellers should also speak up about the direction they believe the country should be heading in.

Other recommendations from techUK included stating that access to the single market had to be a primary objective because tech firms needed to compete for business across Europe.

There were also some comments about making sure that the most highly skilled staff could still come and work here with calls for a smart immigration system in the absence of free movement.

The other points were to rethink data protection laws to make sure that cross border data flows could continue and a plea for the government to listen to the tech sector.

Other business groups have also called for similar steps to be taken to makre sure that the next few weeks and months do not cause too much disruption.

Mike Cherry, national chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said that he had attended the business summit organised by the government earlier this week.

“I again stressed the need for immediate action to reassure small businesses so they can continue to trade and do business. Smaller firms need simple access to the single market, the ability to hire the right people, continued EU funding for key schemes and clarity on the future regulatory framework," he said.

The slight problem is that the standard response at the moment from the Prime Minister is that nothing will be decided until his successor takes up the role and invokes departure plans from the EU.

At Prime Minister's Question Time this afternoon several MPs asked about support for industry and asked for assurances for those that operate across Europe but were given a reply that was tantamount to 'wait and see'.

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