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Let’s talk about automation and the digital revolution

December 11, 2019 2:50 PM
By Beatrice Bass

tech meme GE 2019

For three years, Brexit has been dominating the political agenda wasting a disproportionate amount of time, effort and resources. Meanwhile, our NHS and schools are struggling due to chronic underfunding, our economy is flagging with minimal growth and the climate emergency is left to be tackled by school children.

With big issues left unresolved within this political paralysis the question of how to prepare the UK for the digital age has been entirely neglected. The Liberal Democrats appear to be the only party that provides long-term planning and vision to respond to new technology, job opportunities and educational needs in the 21st century.

An entire manifesto section is dedicated to the UK's diverse tech sector, including a plan to actively support the growth of new tech jobs and businesses, introducing R&D tax credits against the cost of purchasing datasets and cloud computing, and simplifying the regulatory landscape. Start-up allowances, mentoring programs and provision of equity finance through the British Business Bank will help entrepreneurs and small businesses to get started and expand. Logic, verbal reasoning and creativity are a key part of the 'curriculum of life'.

Further, the £10,000 skills wallet will encourage adults to make use of lifelong training and upskilling opportunities, which will be vital for people whose jobs are affected by automation. The Liberal Democrats recognise the need to develop a national skills strategy for key sectors and continue to put great importance into vocational training. Consumers will be empowered by setting a UK-wide target for digital literacy and by sharing the profits made by tech companies in their data use. Wouldn't it be nice to stop Brexit and move on to a brighter future?