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Technology and Innovation Weekly Political Update

Sustainability and Responsible Investment – speech from John Glen, Economic Secretary / Chair of the Asset Management Taskforce

Excerpt: ‘Our asset management industry is the largest in Europe and is at the heart of the health of our overall financial ecosystem, generating value across several areas including trading, marketing and investment banking, to name but a few.

‘Part of that will be our ambition for inter-operable global standards to drive forward the transition to net zero while providing the opportunity for UK asset managers to become global leaders in this field – capturing the opportunity from green finance within the UK market. To this end, I’ve been clear that at the very least, we will match the ambition of the EU Sustainable Finance Action Plan.’

Scottish Universities awarded £20M from UK Government

University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University, University of Glasgow and Heriot-Watt University have been awarded £20m as part of a £32m UK wide announcement for healthcare projects announced by UK Government Science Minister, Amanda Solloway at London Tech week. The universities will benefit from the investment to transform NHS healthcare delivery. Projects include AI X-ray scanner to diagnose cancer and osteoarthritis more effectively and clinical sensors to provide feedback on health and wellbeing in homes.

UK Internal Market Bill introduced

Once the Transition Period ends, rules that have regulated how each home nation trades with each other over the past 45 years will fall away. This legislation preserves the status quo of seamless internal trade, rules and regulations set in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Data show that the combined total sales from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to the rest of the United Kingdom were worth over £90 billion in 2018.

The Bill will avoid uncertainty for business by creating an open, fair, and competitive market across the UK, ensuring regulations from one part of the country will be recognised in another. Each devolved administration will still be able to set their own standards, while also being able to benefit from the trade of businesses based anywhere in the UK. The rules in this bill also bind the UK government when acting on behalf of England in areas of devolved competence.

Kickstarting the data revolution – Government publishes National Data Strategy

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden has launched a National Data Strategy and set out the action the government will take to support the use of data in the UK. The new strategy puts data at the heart of the country’s recovery from the pandemic so companies and organisations can drive digital transformation, innovate and boost growth across the economy.

The UK is already a leading digital nation. Data-enabled UK service exports were estimated to be £243 billion in 2019, or 75 per cent of total service exports. And globally, the UK now sits behind only the US and China in terms of venture capital investment into the technology sector. A 2019 McKinsey report also found that, internationally, a larger proportion of fast-growing companies use data-driven practices compared to slower-growing companies.

The strategy includes plans for:

· 500 analysts to be trained up in data and data science across the public sector by 2021.

· A new Government Chief Data Officer to lead a whole-government approach to transforming government’s use of data to drive efficiency and improve public services.

· The introduction of primary legislation to boost participation in Smart Data initiatives.

· A new £2.6m project to address current barriers to data sharing and support innovation to detect online harms.

Innovate UK funding competition winners 2020 published here.

Information sourced on 10 September and current for week beginning 7 September 2020.

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