techUK Policy Pulse | Your weekly update on digital and tech policy

It has been a relatively quiet week in Westminster after the excitement of the local elections last week, with football and the latest addition to the Royal Family dominating the news instead. I’ll take that over Brexit any day.

This week, as part of the Mayor’s Technology for Business scheme Sadiq Khan announced that he will give 200 small businesses in London a share of £200,000 to enhance their use of AI. This follows last year’s research into the capital’s AI growth which revealed London has an AI supplier base that is double the size of Paris and Berlin combined – it’s key small businesses don’t miss out, if you’re a small business based in London you have until 20 May to apply.

New research published this week reveals a worrying decline in the uptake of computing subjects at school. The research from the University of Roehampton showed that the number of entries for computer science qualifications dropped from 318,781 in 2017 to just 175,230 last year, representing a 45% drop. This will be of huge concern to companies who are already facing a digital skills gap, ITPro has a good write up of the research here.

Giving evidence to the DCMS Select Committee this week, Jeremy Wright indicated his desire to see new online safety laws, stemming from the Online Harms White Paper that is currently out for consultation, be introduced in the next Parliamentary session. This will undoubtedly be a radical piece of legislation that both Parliament and Industry should watch for.

Finally, Digital Minister Margot James launched a short consultation on secure-by-design, looking at regulatory next steps for consumer IoT. This follows the Government’s voluntary Secure by Design Code of Practice for consumer IoT security launched last year, which techUK supported.

techUK news and events

My colleague Giles Derrington was before the International Trade Select Committee to discuss trade in services, an issue of huge importance to the tech sector – you can watch the session here.

techUK’s Annual Dinner is now only two months away and it is set to be the biggest (and best) yet! Join us on the 10th July for a great evening bringing together the who’s who of UK tech. To secure your place click here.

In the meantime, we’ve got some brilliant events at techUK. Join us on 14th May for a panel discussion on legal tech and AI, beyond the hype. Join our speakers to explore issues from ethics to automation.

Finally, if you are thinking about becoming a techUK member or have recently joined (welcome) then why not find out more about all the benefits of membership at our Introductory Evening on 20 May – there’ll be wine and nibbles as well as all my lovely colleagues on hand to answer your questions and see how we can help.

  • Vinous Ali

    Vinous Ali

    Head of Policy | Skills, Innovation and Digital Strategy
    T 07595 410 658

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