On 9 October 2020, the Minister of State for DCMS, Caroline Dinenage MP, outlined the steps the Government is taking to support the growth of the digital economy.
Her full answer can be read below:
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9 October 2020
Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support the growth of the digital economy.
Caroline Dinenage: The digital sector contributed £149bn to the UK economy in 2018, accounting for 7.7% of UK GVA. It supports 1.2 million jobs and around 194,000 businesses of which almost all are SMEs. Last year venture capital investment in the UK’s tech sector leapt by 44%, with record growth in many of the key sub-sectors including cyber security and AI.
The Department is taking great strides to support this growth. This year alone we have introduced the UK Gigabit Programme and the Shared Rural Network programme to develop the country’s broadband infrastructure; introduced a Digital Markets Taskforce, an Online Harms White Paper response and a Digital Identity Call for Evidence to ensure people remain safe online; and ran an entirely digital London Tech Week to show our support for the sector. This event was a resounding success, with initial figures suggesting 2,500 unique viewers attended each day, with 24,000 registering for the entire event.
We also deliver support through Tech Nation and our Digital Trade Network. Tech Nation is the main vehicle used by DCMS to support scale-ups. They deliver a programme of initiatives to support the UK tech sector, specifically startups and scale-ups, notably ‘Upscale’, a programme for scale-ups, aimed at accelerating growth. It comprises workshops, socials, & meetups. Alumni include Monzo, depop and Mixcloud.
The Digital Trade Network (DTN) is a joint DCMS/DIT initiative, announced at London Tech Week 2020. This £8m programme supports UK tech businesses to internationalise in Asia Pacific, attract capital and talent to the UK and enhance UK digital economy collaborations internationally.
Finally, the government will publish a new Digital Strategy this year to drive growth in the digital sector and wider economy, and ensure we maximise the benefits of a digital-led economic recovery. It will set out a path to harnessing new appetite for digital transformation, accelerating growth, and building a more inclusive, competitive and innovative digital economy for the future.