Government launches new strategy to ‘create world-leading digital economy’

The government has launched a new digital strategy intended to make Britain ‘the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business’ and to create an unrivalled digital economy that ‘works for everyone’.

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A new Digital Skills Partnership will see the government, business, charities and voluntary organisations combine to provide digital skills and training opportunities for individuals and businesses.

The strategy includes a plan by Lloyds Banking Group to give face-to-face digital skills training to 2.5 million individuals, charities and small and medium-sized businesses by 2020, and plans by Barclays to teach basic coding to 45,000 more children and assist up to one million people with general digital skills and cyber awareness.

Tech giant Google has also pledged to help boost digital skills in seaside towns as part of their commitment to provide ‘five hours of free digital skills for everyone’.

There will also be various business-facing forums, competitions to incentivise innovation, and the creation of five international ‘tech hubs’ in emerging markets to develop partnerships between UK companies and local tech firms.

Karen Bradley, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, said: ‘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.’

The launch follows the announcement in the 2016 Autumn Statement of a £1 billion programme to accelerate the development and uptake of next generation digital infrastructure – including full fibre broadband plans and 5G.

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