2 March 2017

lawrence jones ukfastWith Brexit firmly back in the headlines as the House of Lords debate and cast their votes. How will the UK compete in the global digital arena after Brexit?

I was asked this by a newspaper journalist this week. What will Brexit look like for the digital industry in the UK?

The biggest question for me surrounds data protection and transfer. We’ve had an uncertain few years with Safe Harbour and Privacy Shield, but one thing was certain, hosting on UK shores guaranteed data sovereignty. We’re watertight with our rules.

The Snooper’s Charter raises concerns over who has access to what, and that conversation is still rolling. On top of that, the GDPR is rearing its head. These new, tougher regulations mean big penalties for businesses that don’t have their data security in order.

So what’s the plan?

Whilst we still don’t really know the details, we are seeing some clarity from the government which laid out plans for its digital strategy this week, placing a huge focus on skills and international technology hubs.

It is interesting to see that a large part of this strategy comes in the form of pledges from big businesses including Google, Lloyds and Barclays. This, to me, is nothing new. Businesses have been leading the drive to ensure that the UK becomes a global technology hub for years now. Equally, whilst it’s fantastic to hear Google pledging this support, if they paid fair taxes here in the UK we’d have significantly more and further-reaching investment to drive greater progress.

I completely agree that a focus on skills is essential. We need to equip future generations with the skills that will guarantee growth of the tech industry.

The UKFast team is committed to bringing real-world digital education to all children in Manchester, and helping adults improve their digital literacy too. We’re working with more than 57,000 children and more than 50 schools in Greater Manchester to bring hands-on technology education to young people regardless of their circumstances.

Ultimately, continued growth in technology and digital relies on the businesses themselves. I believe that you get what you focus on. Rather than being distracted by what could happen with Brexit, we are focussed on how we can strengthen and grow our business. Uncertainty is a huge distraction and it is easy to become swept up in negativity.

What are your thoughts?

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