As the UK prepares for the upcoming election on July 4th, all eyes are on the political landscape as the candidates go head to head. In this blog, I will outline what the forthcoming election will mean for the technology sector regarding the tech-related pledges each political party is making to secure votes before we all head to the ballot stations. 

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  • Quick Note: As a Managed Services Provider (MSP) operating in the Southwest, we have no pre-obligation or bias towards any parties campaigning for your vote. We will remain impartial throughout this and any other political topics we post about.

Tech-related policies and pledges can have a large influence on the way we work with tech. The Conservative Party has been in government since 2010 and has released several tech-related policies during their 14-year tenure. Some of the most notable ones include:

  • The Digital Economy Act 2017: This new law was devised with the consumer at its heart and will be a vital piece of legislation in protecting and strengthening the rights and interests of the individual in an increasingly digital society.
  • The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Implementation (2018): The Act seeks to empower individuals to take control of their personal data and to support organisations with the lawful processing of personal data. The GDPR rules were implemented to account for today's internet and digitally led society and provide people and organisations in the UK with a "comprehensive package to protect personal data".
  • National Cyber Security Strategy 2016-2021: The National Cyber Security Strategy 2016 - 2021 sets out the government's plan to make Britain secure and resilient in cyberspace. Some key measures included investing £1.9 million in cybersecurity, introducing initiatives to improve public-sector collaboration on cybersecurity issues and establishing the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – an entire organisation dedicated to providing advice and support to organisations on avoiding cybersecurity threats.

Looking back at some of the policies introduced during the past decade, the UK government can have a massive impact on the tech industry. Let's examine what the various political parties promise to deliver in relation to the tech industry ahead of the 2024 UK General Election.

Breakdown of Party Policies

The Conservative Party:

If Rishi Sunak's Conservative (Tory) Party secure the majority of the votes in the upcoming election, they have pledged to deliver the following tech-related policies in their manifesto:

These pledges signify that if the Conservative Party remains in government, it will focus on increasing funding for research and development and AI research within the tech industry. If they are voted in, small—and medium-sized businesses operating in the sector will also benefit from a reduction in tax.  

The Labour Party:

Sir Keir Stamer appears to be in the driving seat ahead of the impending election. According to senior political analyst Peter Barnes (BBC), the BBC's General Election Poll Tracker indicates that Labour "has a commanding lead" over its fellow parties.

With that in mind, let's look at what the Labour Party will set out to achieve in their manifesto ahead of tomorrow's all-important vote:

  • Harnessing AI to Cut NHS Waiting Times: One of Labour's five core missions, forming the backbone of their manifesto, is to “Build an NHS fit for the future.” AI technology to transform the speed and accuracy of diagnostic services significantly.
  • Enhanced Digital Infrastructure: The Labour Party is committed to boosting the UK's digital infrastructure with a “renewed push to fulfil the ambition of full gigabit and national 5G coverage by 2030”. 
  • Driving Innovation and Industrial Strategy: A key feature of Labour's manifesto is the support for a robust industrial strategy and the drive to foster innovation. The party pledges to advance the “development of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) sector” by removing planning barriers for new data centres and creating a conducive environment for technological growth.

If elected, Labour promises to support small businesses by cutting energy costs and enhancing digital infrastructure, including nationwide 5G coverage by 2030.

The widespread adoption and accelerative growth we've witnessed AI technology undergo during the past few years has been remarkable. The Labour Party intends to keep a lid on Artificial Intelligence by introducing stringent AI legislation, removing planning barriers for data centres, and supporting AI development, which, in turn, could result in more job creation in the tech industry.

Liberal Democrats:

The Liberal Democrats, or Lib Dems, have focused on promising to create a robust and supportive environment for the tech industry by driving innovation, enhancing productivity and fostering sustainable growth.

They've set out their stall ahead of the upcoming election by proposing to deliver on the following pledges should they be voted into parliament, which have been summarised from their 2024 manifesto below:

Each party offers distinct plans to influence the tech industry and support businesses through these next steps:

  • The Conservatives promise significant investment in research and development (R&D) manufacturing and AI technologies and also aim to maintain tax reliefs for the businesses that operate within the sector. 
  • Labour, currently leading in the polls, has outlined that their tech-related goals revolve around harnessing AI to cut NHS waiting times, enhancing the UK's digital infrastructure and driving innovation and industrial strategy within the sector.
  • The Lib Dems promise to foster innovation and ensure ethical AI standards and practices are enforced while promising to provide the necessary resources and infrastructure for growth and development.
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While the specifics vary, each party's commitment to the tech sector suggests a promising future for technological advancements and business growth in the UK. Regardless of the outcome, it certainly looks like a promising time to work in the tech industry. 

 

Don't forget to vote; polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm on Thursday, the 4th of July.

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