Levelling-up across the UK needs digital, data and information technology to be at the heart of the Government’s approach to building back better. BCS Director of Policy, Bill Mitchell comments on the Prime Minister’s speech to the Conservative Party Conference.

Today the Prime Minister laid out a vision to shape government policy around levelling up and building back better. He made several commitments to skills and technology, including:

  • A new £3,000 “levelling up premium” for talented maths, physics and chemistry teachers to go and work in areas which need them.
  • A commitment to increase the proportion of households on track to receive gigabit broadband, which will hit 68% by new year.

This note lays out where government policy can focus on digital, data and information technologies to deliver on this vision as it relates to skills and education, social care and housing.

Skills and education

The UK’s digital divide must be closed to truly level-up across the UK with everyone having access to the best education and skills training including:

  • A world-class computing education for every child
  • High-quality digital placements in post-16 technical education
  • A truly inclusive and diverse digital workforce

A major DCMS survey highlighted a worrying lack of digital skills across the UK workforce. It also demonstrated the challenge of creating an education and training pipeline to fill these gaps. Our broader positioning on education and training can be found here and our work on diversity and inclusion here.

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Social care

If used to its potential, Artificial Intelligence (AI), data and technology will be the great powerhouse behind an integrated health and social care eco system. Matching data, AI and technology with skills will keep us healthy and living independently in our own homes for as long as possible.

Investment in professionally managed IT systems and technology will revolutionise the care industry, facilitate smarter data-led decisions, improve value-for public money, reduce pressure on the NHS and improve our wellbeing into old age.

Read more about the BCS position and the work we do in this area.

Housing

As part of the National Engineering Policy Centre (NEPC), BCS has called for an economic recovery that pivots the UK towards Net Zero, rather than one that locks us into a high-carbon future. Read more about the BCS position on decarbonisation.

Major investment in house building should ensure all new housing stock is environmentally sustainable and includes the latest smart digital technologies to help deliver Net Zero targets.

What is happening with government policy right now

The government is already putting in place initiatives that are directly relevant to the Prime Minister’s vision including:

Read about the BCS work on these policy areas, including the BCS priorities for the National AI strategy and the BCS expert opinion on reshaping the digital regulation landscape to achieve the ambitions in the above national strategies.