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Government to publish digital strategy this autumn

Strategy will set out how to increase tech-led economic growth and productivity after the Covid-19 pandemic, says digital secretary Oliver Dowden

Digital secretary Oliver Dowden is to announce plans for a digital strategy as part of the government’s technology-led economic recovery strategy post-Covid-19.

Dowden is expected to announce the plans at a UK Tech Cluster Group conference today (23 June), where he will highlight the important role digital transformation has played both during the coronavirus pandemic, and as the country begins to recover from it.

In his speech to the conference, Dowden is expected to say that coronavirus has “fundamentally altered our lives – and the role that tech plays within it”. 

“It has turbocharged the digital transformation of almost every part of our days – of our workplaces, our businesses, the way we shop and stay in touch with family, and the way we use public services,” he will say. 

“We are living in a different world, and one that requires a different focus. Tech must play a leading part in our recovery, and my department has been working hard over the past few weeks and months to put it in the best possible position to do so.” 

The digital strategy, which is due to be published this autumn, will set out how to build a highly skilled digital workforce across the country, help people to adjust to a digital-led economy, help businesses become digital and enable people to move into the tech sector.

“Right now, our clear priority must be growth, using tech to power us out of the recession, to drive productivity and create jobs in all parts of the tech industry, region by region, and in all parts of our economy,” Dowden will say.

“With offices closed and shops shuttered during the crisis, tech has kept our economy’s engines ticking over. And now, as we enter recovery, tech will put a fresh load of fuel in the tank, driving a new era of growth. So what are some of the key areas we’ll need to consider? What might spark a digital drive for growth? 

“It means creating the best data regime possible – one that allows businesses and public services of all shapes and sizes to use and share vital information quickly, efficiently and ethically, as they have during the pandemic.” 

Dowden will also say there have been huge improvements in how data has been used during the pandemic, and that there is a desire in government to have “the spirit of innovation and the urgency to change” to be one of the positive legacies that come out of the crisis.

Read more about government technology

  • Despite the US’s resistance to an international digital services tax, the UK and other European countries plan to continue pushing for a global solution to taxing technology giants. 
  • ThoughtWorks research highlights problems around remote schooling, local government and GP services. 
  • The NHS Digital tender aims to find a partner to handle the development, delivery and running of the coronavirus testing service.

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