Welcome to Policy Pulse. It has been an exciting week both in Westminster and Strasbourg.
On Tuesday the first female EU Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, was elected. Von der Leyen secured 383 votes in the secret ballot, less than 10 votes over the absolute majority she needed. This signals that she will have her work cut out going forward.
Over in the UK Parliament, the House of Commons yesterday voted to make it harder for the new Prime Minister to push through a ‘No Deal’ Brexit by proroguing Parliament. The amendment was passed with a majority of 41, thanks to the abstention of key Government Ministers, including the Chancellor and leadership hopeful Jeremy Hunt (who tweeted saying he thought he was slipped for the vote).
Our very own Minister for Digital, Margot James MP, rebelled against the Government and swiftly resigned. techUK and our members are saddened to lose a real champion for the tech sector but look forward to continuing to work with her on issues of importance to the sector from the backbenches.
The vote came ahead of today’s publication of a new report from the House of Commons Select Committee on Exiting the European Union which looks into the consequences of a No Deal Brexit on UK business. techUK gave evidence to the Committee in preparing this report and was pleased to see it highlight the impact on the service sector, which has been mainly absent from the debate thus far, and a real focus on the importance of the free flow of data, a key priority for the tech sector. For analysis on the report, click here.
Away from Brexit, and arguably on an issue of even greater magnitude, the Government announced the first pilot of the National Retraining Scheme, first announced by the Chancellor in the 2017 Budget. The scheme is aimed at those workers whose jobs are likely to be automated in the near future, offering them support and avenues to retrain.
Casting our mind back to Monday (it has been one of those weeks), the Science and Technology Committee which keeps growing in stature and influence, published its report on Digital Government. techUK provided both written and oral evidence to the Committee to aid its work, and you can read a full summary of its findings here.
techUK news and events
techUK is coming to the end of its dedicated Cloud Week. Check out insights and blogs from our members on our website here and read our report: Cloud 2020 & Beyond which considers where action is needed in the next three years to drive greater cloud adoption.
This week techUK was proud to join forces with other sectors to launch the #FullStrength campaign calling on the next Prime Minister to reform the immigration system to ensure the UK has access to the global skills and talent it needs to turbocharge the economy. The campaign was picked up widely in the media and provides strong momentum going forward for work on both the development of the Immigration White Paper and the Immigration Bill.
Finally, techUK is delighted to support the first large scale AI conference in the North of England this weekend – AI Tech North. The Conference aims to build a community to look towards the future by sharing knowledge and collaborating to make a difference – find out more here.