The battle lines for the election have been drawn, with each party’s manifesto detailing their commitments to the country for the next five years. In tech terms though, that’s a lifetime.
The first thing you notice about the Conservative manifesto is that they’ve used a navigable PDF. It’s a nice feature.
Delving beneath the surface, the party makes a commitment to providing broadband coverage to 95 per cent of the UK by 2017; subsidising the cost of this in rural areas.
Mobile gets a mention too, with the party promising better coverage for all parts of the country and stating their ambition for the UK to become a world-leader in the development of 5G. In addition, the party is also offering £6.9 billion of investment in science and technology research every year until 2021.
The Green Party focuses its attentions on the perceived breaches of information security exposed by Edward Snowden, with its Digital Bill of Rights detailing the party’s pledge to keep personal information protected online.
For small businesses, the manifesto makes a bold statement of intent that gives “public telecommunications operators an obligation to provide affordable high-speed broadband-capable infrastructure to every small business”.
In its manifesto, Labour promises to improve broadband access at an infrastructure level by extending high-speed broadband to all parts of the country. At a societal level, the party makes the slightly vaguer commitment to “support community-based campaigns to reduce the number of citizens unable to use the internet”.
Recognising the growth and importance of mobile browsing, the Labour manifesto pledges to rid us of the ‘not spots’ that can afflict mobile users across the country. Labour is also committed to continuing to fund the UK’s science and technology research base.
The Liberal Democrat manifesto provides perhaps the most comprehensive outline for digital and tech support of all the main parties.
The party makes many bold pledges, including rolling out high-speed broadband to 99 per cent of homes and businesses; supporting fast-growing tech businesses in the creation of a million jobs over the next 20 years; promoting coding on the national curriculum; and providing digital skills training to the young and unemployed.
The UKIP manifesto doesn’t feature technology a great deal, although those interested in studying a tech-related subject at university will no doubt welcome the abolition of tuition fees for certain subjects.
Among all parties, it’s interesting to note that there’s a blanket consensus on the need to improve mobile and broadband infrastructure. By investing in technology and infrastructure, politicians can improve the economy for small and big businesses alike. A strong mobile network has a positive economic impact and the UK’s investment in research has provided many valuable tech innovations over the years.