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Clear Action Needed to Help Firms Navigate Digital Future

The British Chambers of Commerce has launched its Digital Revolution report outlining a framework to create a connected, dynamic and secure future for UK businesses.

Among the recommendations are:

  • Government should appoint an AI champion for SMEs who will help spearhead a programme to improve business use of artificial intelligence.
  • Government should explore social tariffs for lower-income areas, to enable more people to access broadband services – including small businesses.
  • Wireless Network infrastructure should be strengthened through a pro-investment policy framework supported by a planning regime that unlocks the UK’s 5G ambitions.

The government should work with the insurance industry to create a reinsurance pool that underwrites cyber risk for business.

The Digital Revolution report is a key part of the BCC’s Election Manifesto focusing on the ‘Future of the Economy’ published last week. It draws on expertise from businesses of all sizes, academia, Chambers and think-tanks.

The report outlines a series of clear asks from policymakers on broadband, wireless connectivity, cyber security and AI.

Martha Lane Fox, President of the British Chambers of Commerce and Chair of the Business Council, said:

“The pace of technological change is speeding up, not slowing down. That’s a fantastic opportunity for business.

“Our report calls on the next government to put energy into the further modernisation and digitisation of the UK. Not just for the few but, for everyone.

“We need rocket boosters under high-speed broadband rollout. A fast, reliable and affordable connection is now fundamental for every company. They also need support to deal with cyber security which is both a daunting prospect and a pressing risk for companies.

“We need a sustained commitment from all politicians to make sure that the UK – through its amazing businesses – keeps pace in the fast-moving digital world.”

Priya Guha MBE, Venture Partner at Merian Ventures and Chair of the Digital Revolution Challenge Group said:

“Our report focuses on four related areas – broadband, wireless connectivity, cyber security and AI.

“Every company now needs to be digital, and these four areas are the foundations for competitive and productive businesses. And they are also areas where the government can play an important role in helping firms.

“Without the basics of fast broadband, connectivity on the move and cyber risk protection – businesses won’t even be equipped to start exploring how they can benefit from the exciting world of AI.

“The ever-changing world of technology is of huge strategic importance to business. Both for their own future, and the future of an innovative economy in the UK where all companies thrive.”