The Bank Holiday is now so close you can almost taste it. I am getting my Bank Holiday weekend started a little early and am writing this edition of Policy Pulse from Devon where Boris Johnson is just up the road visiting Torbay hospital (absolutely not in election mode) before he jets out to Biarritz for the G7 – more on that later.
The week kicked off with hares set running on the UK’s post-Brexit immigration policy in a No Deal scenario after two Sunday papers reported that the Home Secretary intended to end Freedom of Movement on the 31 October. With the Home Office and No.10 offering no further clarification as to what this would mean in practice, or how it would be achieved given the timelines it is unsurprising that businesses and individuals alike have been left panicked and uncertain. In lieu of any official information or guidance, I have had a go at dissecting what this could mean, click the link to have a read.
The Prime Minister meanwhile made visits to both Berlin and Paris for talks with Merkel and Macron respectively for Brexit talks. While there were plenty of warm words from Johnson’s counterparts very little has shifted with the UK still committed to leaving on the 31 October and the EU still committed to the backstop. Parliament is back in little under two weeks and it is anybody’s guess what happens then.
But before we get ahead of ourselves, the G7 meets this weekend in the seaside town of Biarritz. There is a lot on the agenda, with potential fireworks between the US and France on the France’s Digital Services Tax (the USTR is currently undertaking a 301 investigation). The OECD is making slow and steady progress on finding a multilateral solution and techUK is clear that countries should focus their energies on that rather than crafting unilateral, interim measures that create a fragmented and confused picture.
techUK has joined forces with others to urge the G7 to make progress in aligning digital policies and boosting the growth of the digital economy. You can read the statements and policy recommendations here.
Moving from the international to the very local, this week also saw the Government launch the next round of applications for the Local Digital Fund. Targeted at encouraging collaboration and digital transformation at a local level this is an exciting initiative that has already had an impact with sixteen projects having been funded in the first round last year all geared towards harnessing technology to improve local services.
Finally, our new Secretary of State, Nicky Morgan MP, this week had a piece in the Telegraph celebrating the success of the UK’s tech sector. New figures released this week show that between January and July this year, the sector attracted $6.7bn of investment. Morgan also used the op-ed to announce the Bright Tech Futures Award which will reward and recognise the UK’s tech talent so crucial to the success of the sector. You can find more information about the Award here.
techUK news and events
In the run up to No Deal techUK is working to better understand what our members are doing to prepare and what support they need from Government. If you are a techUK member you will have received a short questionnaire on this issue. If you don’t think your company has received it send me an email.
techUK is delighted to announce new members of the Local Public Services Committee (LPSC), this year’s LPSC brings together a diverse range of tech industry leaders who will champion the sector and drive an ambitious programme of activity between techUK and local government. To see the full line-up click here.
If you are back from your Summer hols and excited to get stuck into work again why not check out techUK’s event page to find out what is happening in the world of UK tech in September. I can recommend our Introduction Evening on the 9th September, where you can meet the team and enjoy a drink with us.