Tech Policy: What to Expect from the UK General Election 2024

Julia Esgate Christmas

As the UK General Election looms on the horizon, anticipation builds around potential shifts in policy and regulation that could reshape the technology landscape. The future of technology remains a central topic of interest across all party considerations, as stakeholders eagerly await insights into how the next government will approach this vital sector. 


What Do We Know About the General Election So Far? 

As of 22nd May 2024, the General Election has been confirmed for 4th July 2024. The coming election is poised to bring significant changes, particularly in how technology is governed and integrated into various facets of public life. 

How Have Previous Elections Impacted Technology? 

Past elections have significantly influenced the technology landscape, leaving lasting imprints on regulatory frameworks and industry dynamics. Landmark legislations, such as the Digital Economy Act of 2010 and the implementation of GDPR in 2018, have profoundly shaped the relationship between the public sector and technology industries. In the wake of the pandemic, technology has assumed an even greater role in our daily lives, and the trajectory for the next five years suggests this will continue. As we look back, these historical shifts provide context for understanding potential future changes. 

Party Policies and Their Impact on Tech 

Although we are yet to receive manifestos, early indications show differing focuses among the parties. The Labour Party, for instance, has shown a keen interest in the future of AI, particularly its potential to stimulate economic growth. Shadow Tech Secretary Peter Kyle has projected a 0.5% increase in economic growth through AI initiatives. Meanwhile, the Conservative Party is prioritising the replacement of the current GDPR system and the expansion of 5G and better broadband infrastructure. These priorities reflect the UK’s ambition to cement its status as a global tech leader, leveraging the election as an opportunity to further accelerate its tech advancements. As we look toward receiving full manifestos, the UK tech industry awaits even more policies to help shape the world of UK tech! 


How Tech Procurement Will Be Impacted 

Tech procurement policies are poised for potential scrutiny and reform under the next government. As public sector spending on technology reaches substantial levels, (in March 2023, the UK Government committed up to £3.5 billion to the future of tech and science) questions of transparency, efficiency, and vendor diversity come to the forefront. Optimising procurement processes, promoting innovation through SMEs, and ensuring value for taxpayers' money will likely feature prominently in future policies. The goal will be to create a more dynamic, inclusive, and effective procurement landscape. 

What Would the Tech Experts Like to See? 

In 2023, techUK released their report "A UK Tech Plan: How the Next Government Can Use Technology to Build a Better Britain, based on extensive research from the tech community. The report outlines eighteen opportunities for the government to create a better Britain, including addressing the digital skills gap, delivering digital transformation in the NHS and social care systems, and promoting greener technology. Taking key insights from tech experts is crucial for the next government to ensure the UK remains a thriving tech powerhouse. 


Current Voting Intentions and What's Up Next? 

At present, Labour leads the YouGov polls with a 47% voting intention, compared to the Conservatives' 20%. However, these figures are subject to change as the election date approaches and campaign dynamics evolve. In the coming months, ahead of the election date in July, we anticipate a deepening of discussions around technology policy and its implications for the UK's future. Stay tuned… New call-to-action

Discussions on the future of technology and the impact of a new government will take centre stage at the DigiGov Expo, taking place live at the ExCeL on 24th-25th September 2024!