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New funding announced to tackle online child abuse

Government announces £30m of new cash to tackle online child harm as part of Spending Review 2019

The government has announced that it will increase investment to support its aim of tackling child online harms.

Chancellor Sajid Javid announced during the Spending Review 2019 that £30m of new cash will be spent on tackling “the scourge of online child sexual exploitation”.

The plans are part of an £13.8bn investment package that Javid described as “the fastest increase in spending for 15 years” and “the end of austerity”.

The new funding builds on the announcement in July of the UK Council for Internet Safety, a new body with an expanded scope to tackle digital abuse in the UK as well as future policy development.

More substantial plans to address internet abuse emerged in April, when the Online Harms whitepaper was published, outlining a vision for measures needed to ensure online safety.

A consultation on the proposals set out in the paper ran from 8 April to 1 July and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is now analysing the feedback received.

Apart from the announcement of new funding to tackle online abuse, Javid reaffirmed the government’s intention to focus on other areas related to technology, such as internet infrastructure.

“It isn’t good enough that our small business owners waste so much time because of slow internet speeds and poor mobile connections,” he said. “We’re going to change that.

“We want faster broadband for everyone in the country, quicker mobile connections and better signal coverage.”

Javid did not elaborate on immediate spending plans to help solve the UK’s connectivity issues, however.

Other “reaffirmations” in the Spending Review included the government’s commitment to invest £250m in new artificial intelligence technologies to discover new treatments and relieve the workload of NHS staff, announced in August.

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