Cyber defence must be a priority for next UK Government

An additional £200 million to update the UK Government’s cyber defences has been proposed. This has lead to a series of ambitious recommendations, all with the aim of ensuring that the UK remains a world leading digital economy.

The proposal is just one of a series of recommendations outlined in Inventing the Future: the techUK manifesto 2017 that sets out a digital vision for 2020 and beyond, and a roadmap for how to get there.

Digital must remain a growth engine for the economy as Britain leaves the EU, according to techUK, but the country must also ensure that everyone can benefit from that growth. To build a successful 21st century economy and society, the next UK Government will need a clear strategic focus on Brexit, cyber security and the rapid digitisation of the global economy.

>See also: The digital transformation of the UK public sector

Commenting on the Manifesto, techUK CEO, Julian David, said: “The next Government has to get Brexit right, but we also have to prepare for the social and economic changes ahead. The pace of global digitisation will not slow down. We have a choice about whether we want to shape the digital future or be shaped by it. This manifesto is about inventing a positive future for everyone in Global Britain.”

“Digital security is fundamental, but our defences are only as strong as our weakest link. That’s why techUK’s cyber proposals would triple the funding for protecting Government ICT and securing online services based on the previous budget. The manifesto also argues that strong encryption is also vital for defending the UK and its citizens from attacks by hackers and hostile states.”

The Manifesto outlines a number of recommendations, which it believes will help preserve and indeed, strengthen and secure the UK digital economy.

>See also: What does the gov’s Digital Strategy mean for the UK tech industry?

Getting Brexit right for tech

Prioritising tech in Brexit negotiations, including securing a robust legal framework for the free flow of data between the UK and the EU will be vital for many online businesses. The manifesto also suggests appointing a new Digital Ambassador to promote the UK digital sector world-wide and boost exports.

Creating a safe and secure digital world

The Manifesto outlines it’s proposal to provide a 10% increase in the National Cyber Security Budget for investment in public service security, while also providing a cyber security tax credit for startup and scale-up businesses to promote safe and secure innovation.

>See also: How achievable is the Government Transformation Strategy?

Creating the smarter state

The allocation of £1 billion a year for digital transformation in the NHS, suggests the Manifesto, will provide new technology and more efficient service delivery to support patients and improve outcomes. This would mean an increase in the sustainability and transformation budget from 2 per cent to 3 per cent of NHS England spend, bringing it closer to average private sector IT spend.

Skills for the future

In his first Autumn Statement, Chancellor Philip Hammond did address this, with the introduction of T-Levels and other initiatives. But techUK’s Manifesto goes further and wants an extra £250 million per year raised by the Immigration Skills Charge to help fund major and world-leading domestic digital skills programmes fit for Global Britain.

They also outline plans to increase the Adult Education Budget in real terms for each year of the next Parliament to support lifelong learning and retraining.

It goes further, asking for the government to establish a new independent commission to radically overhaul the education system to provide people with the skills needed to compete in the 21st century economy.

>See also: Politics will hinder the Government’s Transformation Strategy – Gartner

Boosting UK’s productivity

Finally, the Manifesto wants a commitment from the UK gov to spend 3% of GDP on R&D by 2025 to develop new, world leading products and innovations.

The importance of improving cyber capabilities has slowly creeped onto the government agenda, recognised in the construction of the National Cyber Security Centre and Hammond’s Autumn Statement.

However, issues of social care and taxation still dominate party rhetoric. The events this weekend, which saw the biggest ransomware attack ever might perhaps further open up the conversation regarding the importance of cyber in the political domain.


The UK’s largest conference for tech leadership, Tech Leaders Summit, returns in September with 40+ top execs signed up to speak about the challenges and opportunities surrounding the most disruptive innovations facing the enterprise today. Secure your place at this prestigious summit by registering here

Avatar photo

Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...