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The UK came 20th out of 21 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) group for capital investment in ICT infrastructure as a proportion of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2014.
There are 35 member states in the OECD, but ICT investment was only available for 21 of them, and the UK invested the second least of these in 2014, according to analysis by the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
The UK spent just 0.4% of GDP on ICT equipment, the TUC revealed. But it is not just ICT investment that is low in the UK. The figures also revealed that total UK capital investment in vital infrastructure was 16.6% of GDP in 2014, compared to the 20.8% average across all OECD countries. This puts the UK in third to last place, with only Greece and Portugal investing less.
Furthermore, the UK managed to come last in terms of investments in transport equipment, with 0.6% of GDP invested.
The TUC said investment in infrastructure and public services is vital for protecting the economy from the uncertainty caused by Brexit. And it will also be needed for Britain to build an economy strong enough to compete in the global marketplace once the UK has left the EU.
Kate Bell, head of economics at the TUC, said the UK "can’t just waltz into Brexit with [its] fingers crossed."
"The Government’s industrial strategy needs to set out a clear plan for ICT investment to create jobs, and so we are no longer trailing other countries when we leave the EU. It should include more investment in national ICT infrastructure so the country is better connected. And with innovation in ICT affecting so many industries, Britain must think about how we can be world leaders in developing ICT technology and bringing it into workplaces ahead of our competitors.”
Read more about UK government investment in IT
- The UK government has announced a £1.9bn increase in spending on cyber security for the second time – 12 months after it was first announced.
- The Welsh government is planning to invest up to £80m to extend its broadband roll-out across the entire country by 2020.
- The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has called for input from industry, businesses and consumers to help it shape the future of connectivity in the UK into the mid-2020s and beyond.