Good afternoon and welcome to this week’s Policy Pulse. The big news this Friday is of course we have our final two contenders for the Conservative leadership: Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt. After an almost ‘Love Island-esque’ elimination process on Thursday, the final two candidates now have one month to win the hearts and minds of Conservative members up and down the country.
Earlier the same day, the Government revealed that age verification for pornographic websites, due to come into force on 15 July, will be delayed by approximately six months due to an oversight which meant the European Commission had not been notified in line with the Technical Standards and Regulations Directive. It is not the first time that the UK Government has been caught out by this Directive, but Jeremy Wright has promised to do all he can to ensure it is the last time. However, the Secretary of State made clear that the delay does not change the Government’s intentions and the policy remains the same.
Away from politics, the Governor of the Bank of England used his Mansion House speech to lay out how the Bank could adapt to rapid shifts in finance. Responding to recommendations made by the Van Steenis review (published on Wednesday) Mark Carney revealed the Bank’s openness to the possibility of giving non-traditional banks access to the Bank of England’s balance sheet.
This month the Government announced its intention to create a National Data Strategy (there is currently a call for evidence seeking responses from individuals and organisations). With extremely good timing, the National Audit Office published its report examining the challenges in using data across government. It articulates the challenges faced by the public sector in sharing and using data. While there are pockets of good practice, the lack of leadership on this issue has undoubtedly hindered progress. You can read our take here.
And on a final frontier – space (yes I know that was terrible), Business Minister Andrew Stephenson announced a £24 million fund for aerospace SMEs to develop innovative technologies. This forms part of the Aerospace Industrial Strategy and is intended to boost R&D investment amongst UK SMEs.
techUK news and events
Sunday marks International Women in Engineering Day. With women seven times less likely to be working in engineering than men in 2018, there is clearly still a long way to go, but Sunday gives an opportunity to celebrate all the role models who are inspiring the next generation (even if they don’t recognise that themselves!).
The Summer party season is getting into full swing, and here at techUK we don’t want to miss out, so the next techUK Early Tech Career Network event will have a decidedly summer feel about it (lets hope the weather reflects that). Join us for a panel session on cybersecurity followed by a reception and networking opportunity – sign up here.
On the 26 June, techUK will be launching its 2019 flagship State of the Connected Home Report. Join us for the launch of the report which bring together industry experts to discuss the latest trends as well as offer the opportunity to view demos and network. Book your place here.
Finally, with plastic capturing public attention like no other environmental issue, we're holding a free conference on how tech firms can cut out single use plastics, you can secure your place by clicking here.