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Next Mayor of London must place tech at the heart of London’s future

Three of the most influential organisations within London’s technology and policy community have today revealed the steps needed to establish the capital’s first truly digital Mayor in London’s Digital Future: The Mayoral Tech Manifesto 2016.


The Manifesto outlines the bold steps needed by the next Mayor to maintain London’s position as the digital capital of Europe and make the capital a truly digital city for businesses and citizens.

The comprehensive vision for London’s digital future outlined in the Manifesto will inform mayoral candidates of the enormous potential of digital innovation for the city’s economy growth, governance and population.

Bringing together the combined expertise of techUK, the industry voice of more than 850 companies, Tech London Advocates’ 2,500-strong network, and London’s dedicated think tank, Centre for London, this Manifesto produced ahead of the London Mayoral election has a specific focus on digital technologies.

The Manifesto offers 13 ambitious policy recommendations across five areas: future-proofing London, infrastructure, investment and funding, skills and immigration, and digital London government. [1]

Key recommendations include:

  • Hire a London Chief Digital Officer to collect, share and analyse data for improved public and private services
  • Take the London message global through trade missions that champion every sector of London’s digital economy
  • Conduct a comprehensive London-wide Innovation Audit to assess the effects of regulation on new digital services
  • Establish a tech talent pipeline to work with educators and entrepreneurs to equip Londoners with the digital skills needed to survive and thrive
  • Be bold on visas for tech professionals by protecting the Tier 2 visa and look at options for reinstating the Post-Study Work visa
  • Support a full digital inclusion strategy for all Londoners

A survey of more than 300 members of London’s technology community informed the policy recommendations in the Manifesto. When asked what the Mayor of London could do to best help the capital’s technology industry, the findings showed that showcasing London tech internationally and investing more significantly in the talent pipeline were the most important priorities for the private sector.

In addition, the research highlighted a shortage of talent as the single biggest obstacle facing the city’s technology industry (43 per cent), with software developers the most in-demand profession in the capital (44 per cent).

London’s Digital Future: The Mayoral Tech Manifesto 2016 has been presented to the main mayoral candidates.These candidates will have the opportunity to respond to the policy recommendations at DebateTech, a formal technology hustings event held on the 9th February at Here East in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Charlotte Holloway, associate director at techUK, comments:

“London’s fast-changing tech scene is looking for a Mayor with pro-innovation reflexes, who also understands how the latest in digital can benefit all Londoners. We need a forward-looking City Hall that leads by example, from championing Digital Government to opening up the City’s data to sticking up for London on the need for skilled migration.”

Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates, said:

“The next Mayor of London will take office in the unrivalled digital capital of Europe. The technology sector represents the best of London business – driving innovation, job creation and economic growth across the capital. Over the past five years, the technology industry has become a community it is impossible for City Hall to ignore. Our Mayoral Tech Manifesto brings together the voice of the technology community and policy experts to articulate the challenges faced by the industry and what is required from the next Mayor of London to support this dynamic industry.”

Ben Rogers, director of Centre for London, added:

“The responsibility of the next Mayor of London is to make ensure that London gets the best of the digital revolution. This is not about a set of policies for one sector, but a set of policies that will benefit London as a whole.”

The full London’s Digital Future: The Mayoral Tech Manifesto 2016 is available to download at the bottom of this page.

Read the full write-up of London Mayoral candidates went head to head on tech and digital.

Join the conversation at #DebateTech

The full list of policy recommendations included in London’s Digital Future: The Mayoral Tech Manifesto 2016 are:

  1. Conduct an Innovation Audit
  2. Full digital inclusion strategy
  3. World-class cyber security
  4. Plan ahead for broadband
  5. From notspots to hotspots for broadband
  6. Shore up the supply of commercial space
  7. Take the London message global
  8. Prioritise investment incentives
  9. Build a tech talent pipeline
  10. Champion digital apprenticeships
  11. Be bold on visas
  12. Hire a London Chief Digital Officer
  13. Create an Open Data Charter

For press queries, contact us. To learn more about techUK's work ahead of all the May local elections, contact Charlotte Holloway.

Londons Digital Future - The Mayoral Tech Manifesto 2016 (pdf)

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