British technology trade body TechUK has called on the UK government to foster the sector with actions including dedicated tech ministers in every government department, and long term goals that stretch beyond elections.
Issued in good time for the 2015 General Election, the TechUK manifesto sets out the pressure group's priorities for a tech-focused growth strategy in the UK. Every government department should have its own digital minister, and there should be an overall privacy officer and a "digital trade tsar" to boost tech exports.
Be a digital leader
"Over the next five years, the UK has the opportunity not just to be a digital leader – but to use digital
technologies to address the fundamental long-term social and economic challenges that will determine our future, and that of our children and grandchildren," said Victor Chavez, president of techUK, in the manifesto.
The mainfesto reiterates many of techUK's long-term campaigning issues, including the need for digital skills and the opportunity for using technology to boost exports. The group calls for a digital inclusion program that will get all UK citizens online by 2020, and a target of doubling tech exports during the next parliament.
Other tech goals should be set on a ten-year basis, extending beyond the next parliament, and insulating the tech sector from party politics, techUK says. Among the sectors to foster, the Internet of Things (IoT) gets a particular mention.
The most relevant recommendations for the data center industry are those addressing public sector IT. techUK wants to see the public sector using open procurement, and converging different tech systems where possible, while putting shared services in the cloud.
techUK also wants to see Government departments making full - but ethical - use of public sector data. "Across the private sector,advanced data analytics are being used to more fully understand customer requirements, inform business decisions and improve operations. The effective use of data analytics across Government will significantly improve processes and support better-evidenced policy making," the manifesto says.
The Government needs to protect free speech and improve the democratic controls over surveillance, techUK says. But the Government should also have a strong digital defence ability, which would have the added benefit of making the UK a prime and safe location for digital businesses