GE2015: A Tory victory is a tech victory
As you might have seen in my recent comments to CBROnline, I wasn’t overly enthused by the political prospects offered by any of the candidates in the 2015 General Election. With little to recommend the leading figures and no particularly positive policies on offer, the election had, in my view, spiralled into a race for the bottom and presented a poor picture of democracy.
That said, last week I decided to give my vote to the Conservative party. Speaking as a tech business leader, their position on employment flexibility and the reduction of the deficit and taxation seemed to be the most constructive, so I’m happy to see Mr. Cameron et al returning to office. The result gives the most pro-business party the mandate to get things done without being held back, and will hopefully lead to some positive changes for business landscape.
Nevertheless, there will undoubtedly be some challenges ahead. Most importantly, employment legislation must stay flexible to give companies the opportunity and freedom to expand; Sage People has grown by 1000% in the past five years, and would like to match that figure moving forward. I’d also hope to see continued reforms to the public sector, and a radical improvement of service at reduced cost – something businesses have had to deliver previously. The coalition managed to reduce government spending by less than 1%, and I’d like to see this Conservative government be a little more ambitious.
However, there are inevitably areas where the Conservative government is lacking, and it’s immigration and technology where the biggest challenges lie – and the biggest changes need to be made. First and foremost, it’s imperative that our government stops demonising immigration. I’d like to see them not only remove, but publicly apologize for the absurd promise to have zero net migration; EU migrants have a huge net benefit to the UK, and to suggest otherwise is to the detriment of us all.
But closest to my heart is the wish to see more focus on technology opportunities within the UK. Our tech industry is still far behind where it should be, and it’s frankly foolish not to capitalise on its enormous, but currently under-exploited, potential. We must keep pushing coding and interest in tech in schools, and radically increase the interest and capability of teachers in this still overlooked area. We need to start much earlier in order to get talented people, and girls in particular, studying technical degrees and taking technical apprenticeships. The pay-off, if it can be achieved, will be immeasurable.