Manifesto Watch - Labour on digital
In the first of our posts highlighting the election manifestos from the main political parties, today we focus on the Labour Manifesto and what it has to say about technology and the creative economy.
As expected a theme throughout the document is addressing inequality, although this will be done primarily through institutional reform rather than public spending. Labour's pledge is to create a "high-skill, high-wage economy" and technology is threaded through the document, with a focus on infrastructure; a new Prime Minister’s Committee on the Arts, Culture and Creative Industries; promoting creative skills; and cyber-crime.
Labour’s longer-term approach will drive innovation and build on our strengths as a leader in digital technology. We are just at the start of the internet revolution. Digital technology has transformed start-up costs making it easier to run your own business. There is a widening in the application of new transformative technologies in the fields of robotics, genetics, 3D printing and Big Data.
Our economy is developing a network of connections that will revolutionise innovation. Labour will ensure that all parts of the country benefit from affordable, high speed broadband by the end of the Parliament. We will work with the industry and the regulator to maximise private sector investment and deliver the mobile infrastructure needed to extend coverage and reduce ‘not spots’, including in areas of market failure. And we will support community-based campaigns to reduce the proportion of citizens unable to use the internet and help those who need it to get the skills to make the most of digital technology.
The creative economy
Creativity is the powerhouse of a prosperous economy. It is the source of economic innovation and a powerful force in social renewal. We will increase the number of apprenticeships in the creative industries. We will create a Prime Minister’s Committee on the Arts, Culture and Creative Industries, with a membership drawn from all sectors and regions. The Committee will bring issues of concern direct to the attention of the Prime Minister.
We will guarantee a universal entitlement to a creative education so that every young person has access to cultural activity and the arts by strengthening creative education in schools and after-school clubs. Institutions that receive arts funding will be required to open up their doors to young people, and we will work with public bodies to rebalance arts funding across the country.
With Labour, students will continue to study English and Maths to age 18 and undertake work experience between the ages of 14 and 16. And to ensure young people are equipped to make the best choices for their future, we will introduce a new, independent system of careers advice, offering personalised face-to-face guidance on routes into university and apprenticeships.
We will consult on creating a statutory requirement for all private companies, to report serious cyber-attacks threatening our national infrastructure.
Ukie's Manifesto, launched in September 2014, can be read here.