Digital Strategy will make UK “best place in the world” for digital businesses

Initiative will include commitments from Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays and Google to boost digital skills and cyber awareness

The government has said that the measures being introduced as part of its Digital Strategy will make the UK the “best place in the world” to start and grow a digital business.

It will aim to create more than four million digital skills training opportunities, while a new Digital Skills Partnership will bring government, business, charities and voluntary organisations together to boost awareness of these opportunities and help people develop appropriate skills for the jobs in their area.

The Digital Strategy will also include commitments from Lloyds Banking Group, to provide digital skills training to 2.5 million individuals, charities and small businesses by 2020; Barclays, to teach basic coding to 45,000 children and train up to one million people with general digital skills and cyber awareness; and Google, to improve digital skills in seaside towns as part of its plans to offer everyone five hours of free digital skills.

Five international tech hubs are in development in emerging markets to help foster partnerships between UK businesses and local tech firms, while a forum will be created for government and the tech community to work together to help boost innovation and growth in the digital economy.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is set to chair a Business Connectivity Forum that will bring together organisations, local authorities and communications providers to help businesses access better and more affordable broadband.

This will also be supported by a £1bn funding package that will keep Britain at the forefront of digital connectivity by accelerating the development and uptake of fibre broadband and 5G.

Finally, a new competition will be launched to encourage the development of financial technology (fintech) products that help consumers access financial services and tools to manage their finances well.

As part of its Digital Strategy, the government recently announced a major boost to the UK’s artificial intelligence sector, including a £17.3m funding package and measures of support.

Karen Bradley, secretary of state for culture, media and sport, commented: “This Digital Strategy sets a path to make Britain the best place to start and grow a digital business, trial a new technology, or undertake advanced research as part of the government’s plan to build a modern, dynamic and global trading nation.

“To do that, we will work closely with businesses and others to make sure the benefits and opportunities are spread across the country so nobody is left behind.

“There should be no digital divide – every individual and every business should have the skills and confidence to make the most of digital technology and have easy access to high-quality internet wherever they live, work, travel or learn.”

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