With digital technologies continuing to transform people's lives, the UK's economic future, jobs, wage levels, prosperity, national security, cost of living, productivity, global competitiveness, as well as its geopolitical position in the world all rely on the growth of digital technologies.
According to estimates commissioned by the UK government, its policies to support and strengthen the digital economy could lead to an additional £41.5 billion in yearly gross value added (GVA) and 678,000 new jobs for the tech sector by 2025.
The UK government announced it would publish its response to the consultation on the data protection regime (due in June 2022). News of the expected announcement was set out in an annex to its new UK digital strategy, published onJune 13. According to the Annex, key actions include digital foundations, generating ideas and intellectual property, digital skills and talent, financing digital growth, enhancing the UK's place in the world and spreading prosperity and levelling up in the whole UK.
As part of its commitment to becoming a global science and technology superpower, the UK government is also taking steps in the intellectual property arena:
•We will increase UKRI expenditure from £6.1 billion in 2020 to £8.9 billion by 2024 (BEIS).
•We will increase R&D investment to £20 billion a year by 2024/25 (BEIS, HMT).
•We will consider increasing the generosity of the Research and Development Expenditure Credit to boost R&D investment in the UK (HMT).
•We will continue to review R&D tax reliefs to ensure they are internationally competitive and well targeted (HMT).
•We will support the commercialisation of university-based research by publishing a suggested best-practice blueprint by March 2023 (BEIS).
•We announced an external review into the future of compute to inform our long-term approach to the technology (DCMS).
•We publishing a final version of ‘Data saves lives', the data strategy for health and social care (DHSC).
•In spring 2022, we are due to publish a plan for digital health and social care (DHSC).
UK data protection law was last substantially updated in 2018 when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force, though the EU legislation was subsequently converted into UK law with some minor amendments at the point that Brexit took effect.
Despite the relatively recent overhaul and the fact many businesses surveyed recently reported seeing benefits from the GDPR, the UK government is exploring further reform. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) consulted on possible reforms to data protection law last year, and the government signalled its plans to introduce a Data Reform Bill into parliament over the next year in the Queen's Speech last month.
At the heart of the proposals consulted on were plans to strip a series of "administrative burdens" from data protection law in a move that would enshrine the concept of more flexible, risk-based 'privacy management' into legislation.
Requirements around data protection impact assessments (DPIAs) and consultation over high-risk personal data processing would be removed, according to those plans. The government is also keen to minimise record keeping obligations and increase the threshold for notifying data breaches to regulators.
A raft of measures to "reduce barriers" to responsible data-related innovation were also consulted on, including plans to make it clearer how personal data can be used for scientific research.
In addition, critical building blocks of the digital economy, from super-fast internet access across the UK to cyber security capabilities are already in place or being built.
Data from Dealroom, which tracks unicorn births, shows that a new unicorn was born every 11 and a half days in the UK in 2021. The UK received more private capital than any other European country last year – around double the level of second-placed Germany, and more than triple the level of France in third place.