Widely credited as the party who ‘gets’ tech, the Tories will be keen to see the sector grow and to attract foreign investment to help Britain get ahead in the ‘global race’.
For those in the tech sector, announcements from Her Majesty today on promoting deregulation for small businesses will be welcomed. With red tape and archaic legislation often posing problems for innovative or disruptive start-ups, a more open market place should see creativity flourish amongst tech innovators.
Alongside this, tech companies operating in the transport, education and healthcare space will be able to capitalise on the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill. This will mean more decisions taken locally, with a view to boosting the economy. With less top down control, innovation may well find fertile ground at local level and stimulate the creation of ‘tech clusters’, similar to those in Cambridge, Cardiff and Sheffield.
Today’s Speech also proposed the introduction of an Investigatory Powers Bill. Nicknamed the “Snooper’s Charter” and blocked by the Lib Dems during the last Government, the Tories are having another go at pushing through this Bill, which will give authorities greater powers to look into phone and internet records of those believed to have extremist links.
Keen to bolster their ability to track the online communications of suspects, these are powers the police have long been calling for. However, MPs and civil liberties groups have expressed concerns about the Bill leading to widespread state surveillance and an erosion of the right to privacy.
Overall, there were few concrete policies that map out this Government’s plans for the tech sector. However, we are likely to see more and more done to encourage investment and growth in this space, along with a range of updates over the next 5 years to ensure our legislative system and regulations keep up with the fast-paced growth and impact of tech.