Government ‘working towards’ publishing new digital strategy this year

Plan was due to be published in autumn last year
Photo: Marco Verch/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

By Sam Trendall

07 Jan 2021

The government’s Digital Strategy for driving economic growth will be published sometime in 2021, a minister has said.

Digital secretary Oliver Dowden first announced in June that his department would be creating a new strategy for government that would be targeted at “using tech to power us out of the recession, to drive productivity and create jobs in all parts of the industry… and indeed all parts of our economy”.

At the time, Dowden said the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport would publish the strategy in an “autumn” that has now come and gone.

Answering a written parliamentary question from Scottish National Party MP Pete Wishart on the planned publication date, minister for digital and culture Carline Dinenage indicated that the timeline was now to finalise the new strategy at some point this year – potentially.

“We are continuing to consider the best timeframe for delivering the strategy, in light of the broader national context including the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said. “We are currently working towards publishing in 2021.”

Dinenage added: “The government is committed to driving growth in the digital sector and wider economy, and to ensuring that we maximise the benefits of a digital-led economic recovery. We will ensure that the digital strategy supports these objectives, both in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and into the future.”

Announcing the intention to deliver the strategy six months ago, Dowden acknowledged that “I know we’ve had previous digital strategies before and they’ve addressed all kinds of important questions and challenges for the tech industry, such as how to build 21st-century digital infrastructure or how to make the UK the safest place to go online”.

“These are all still important questions, and must continue to form a central part of all government thinking on digital,” he added. “Right now, our clear priority must be growth. Using tech to power us out of the recession, to drive productivity and create jobs in all parts of the industry, region by region, and indeed all parts of our economy.

“With offices closed and shops shuttered during the crisis, tech has kept our economy ticking over. But now, as we enter recovery, tech will put a fresh load of fuel in the tank, driving a new era of growth.”

Sam Trendall is editor of CSW's sister publication PublicTechnology, where this story first appeared.

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