Matt Hancock – 2018 Speech on the Creative Industries

Matt Hancock

Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, at the third anniversary of the Creative Industries Federation on 9 January 2018.

It’s fantastic to be here tonight; thank you to the Creative Industries Federation for inviting me this evening.

I’ve been privileged enough to start my new year with a new job and I’m delighted that this is my first speech as Secretary of State at DCMS.

And what a fantastic place to do it, here at the Natural History Museum — featuring one of the world’s finest collections of artefacts, from the T-Rex to the woolly mammoth.

And I see only one mammoth. And that’s the mammoth that is our creative industries.

The creative industries are one growing faster than ever, contributing almost 100 billion pounds to the UK economy every year.

John, I want to give credit to you and the CIF for helping to give the creative industries a powerful voice over the past three years.

This includes the work you have done with DCMS on the Sector Deal, which is due to be published in the next few weeks.

Your input and insight is really important to us and I’m thrilled that we can continue working together now that I am Secretary of State.

Greg Clark and I were both really keen to come here tonight to underline the Government’s commitment to this fantastic industry and the exceptional work that you all do.

Looking back

Tonight, of course, is about celebration. And we have lots to celebrate.

Of course there were difficulties and moments of uncertainty last year. Not least for me….But 2017 really was a year of remarkable creative success.

The thought I really want to leave you with today is that the UK’s creative industries are getting their mojo back.

And I’m not just talking about London. Across the length and breadth of Britain, the power of culture and creativity is bringing people together like never before.

Just look at Hull’s landmark year as UK City of Culture. It not only led to a boost of around 60 million pounds to the local economy, but also saw nine out of ten residents taking part in a City of Culture event. I know that city and it changed it for good.

And Hull won’t be just a one hit wonder. The cultural legacy that has been left for the region will inspire future generations and foster waves of new talent.

We were also able to give much-needed reassurance to the creative industries when we reached an agreement on the first phase of Brexit.

I know that the issue of citizens’ rights is very important for everyone in this room tonight. EU citizens enrich every part of our economy, our society and our cultural life.

We have now reached a deal that protects the rights of EU nationals in the UK and UK citizens in the EU, which I hope will provide valuable certainty.

This agreement has shown that as a country we can strike a good deal with the EU. This means we can forge a strong future with our cousins across the Channel but also remain open to the wider world.

I believe Britain’s future is bright, and that we can be an open, gregarious, optimistic nation, engaged with the world. Culture transcends boundaries and we have a strong track record of working with other countries to produce artistic brilliance.

But I know that sometimes things get in the way. For example, we want to support the industry in its fight against rogue ticket touts.

I was lucky enough to see the phenomenal Hamilton last week and I was impressed at the measures they are taking to put real fans first.

And I’m also immensely proud of the work we did together with the music industry to persuade the Met Police to abolish Form 696.

Looking ahead

As I said earlier, 2017 was a year of success. The creative industries have their mojo back – I have great optimism that they will motor on in 2018.

The creative industries give a massive boost to our economy. Everyone deserves to be able to access them — regardless of your ethnicity, gender, background or taste.

I am committed to doing this, whether it’s through lifting restrictions on performing that could hold back the next Skepta, or making sure that fans are being treated fairly and get to see the artists they love.

You may have noticed the blue whale skeleton above us in this magnificent room. She’s called ‘Hope’ and she was installed as a symbol of humanity’s power to shape a sustainable and positive future.

Numbers of blue whales had been declining for centuries, until there were just 400 left in 1966. Since then, enlightened people worked hard to protect blue whales and helped to restore the population to 20,000. It’s the perfect backdrop for tonight’s celebration.

It shows that through concerted action and creative solutions we can create a better future.

The same applies to culture. The passion, creativity and talent here in this room will help ensure a positive future for our creative industries and for our country.

Let’s take our inspiration from Hope and not the dinosaurs and embrace the opportunities that lie ahead in 2018.

Thank you and have a fantastic evening.

Matt Hancock – 2017 Speech at Times Tech Summit

Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Minister for Digital, at the Times Tech Summit on 15 November 2017.

Thank you for inviting me to this Tech Summit.

The word summit of course has two popular meanings. There’s a gathering such as this, and then there’s the peak – the zenith, the apex, the apogee – the highest point that can be reached.

When it comes to tech, and to digital technology, we are very far from the summit of what can be achieved. Indeed, we are only beginning to even glimpse the potential of where digital technologies might take us, and how much they will transform our world.

These are very much the foothills, and now we must be ready for the climb. Policy making is always as much about anticipating and preparing for the future as it is with addressing current issues.

Our Digital Strategy, published in March of this year, set out how we intend to make the UK the best place to establish and grow a digital business and the safest place for citizens to be online. That means today, but also in the future, so we are ready for the changes ahead.

It established seven pillars that underpin the changes we need to see and I’d like to update you now on the impressive progress that, just eight months in, we have already made.

The first pillar, and central to everything, is infrastructure. In the Digital Strategy we committed to building a world-class digital infrastructure for the UK. That means ubiquitous coverage, so no one is left out, and with sufficient capacity not only for today’s needs but in readiness for tomorrow.

We are on track to meet the target, set out in the Strategy, of superfast broadband coverage at 95% by the end of 2017. Then to reach the final 5%, we legislated in the Digital Economy Act, which received Royal Assent this year, for a Universal Service Obligation to deliver decent broadband to all. In the modern economy, broadband is essentially a utility, and I’m pleased it is increasingly delivered by a competitive market of providers.

For mobile reception, each MNO is obliged to provide voice coverage to 90% of the UK by the end of this year. Meanwhile, 4G premises coverage rose from 29% in 2015 to 72% last year and in our Manifesto we set a target of 95% coverage of the UK landmass. People must be able to stay connected wherever they live, work, and travel.

But at the same time as fixing the current technology, we must also look ahead the next generation, and that means 5G and full fibre.

Our 5G strategy, released at Spring Budget 2017, outlined the necessary steps. As part of a £1.1 billion investment in digital infrastructure, we are funding a coordinated programme of integrated fibre and 5G trials to ensure the UK leads the world in 5G connectivity.

Today, we’re launching a pilot scheme in Aberdeenshire, Bristol/Bath and North East Somerset, Coventry, Warwickshire, and West Yorkshire, which will see local companies offered vouchers by broadband suppliers to pay for gold-standard full-fibre gigabit connections. This should help revolutionise our digital infrastructure, and make it fit for the future, so we trust that take-up will be high.

The second pillar of the digital strategy is skills. At every level, from getting people online for the first time, to attracting and training the world’s top coding talent, Britain needs stronger digital skills if we are to thrive in the years ahead.

Government can’t address this shortfall alone. So when we launched the Digital Strategy in March, we committed to establish a new Digital Skills Partnership, between Government, businesses, charities and voluntary organisations. The aim was to bring greater coherence to the provision of digital skills training at a national level.

And at the launch we promised to create more than four million digital training places. Just eight months in, we and our partners – including Barclays, Lloyds, Google, and many others – have impressively over-delivered, with more than two million places made available, in everything from basic online skills through to cybersecurity and coding. These skills will be crucial to our country’s future prosperity, so we intend to keep up the pace.

The third pillar is to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business.

Make no mistake, Britain is already a global tech powerhouse, with more than 1.4 million people working in digital tech and new jobs being created at twice the rate of other sectors. In the first half 2017 there was a record £5.6 billion invested in tech in the UK – including from Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, IBM, and Google – and the sector has an annual turnover of £118 billion.

All impressive figures, but we can still push further.

So today we are unveiling a £21 million investment to create a new national network of regional tech hubs, across the country, from Belfast to Edinburgh, Cardiff to Birmingham. The funding will also help entrepreneurs in emerging technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence and FinTech, by connecting them to peers and potential investors in other hubs across the country, as well as by offering tailored development programmes.

And, as the Chancellor has announced, Tech City UK and Tech North are to become a single national organisation, Tech Nation, to speed up the growth and reach of the UK’s innovative digital clusters. Companies that have already benefitted from Tech City UK’s input include Just Eat, Funding Circle and Zoopla, and they haven’t done too shabbily. So this is very welcome news.

The fourth pillar of the Digital Strategy is that every UK business should be, to some extent, a digital business.

In July we launched the Productivity Council, which was developed through discussions with UK business leaders, the Confederation of British Industry and the Institute of Directors, and designed to encourage and support UK businesses to go digital. Analysis suggests that only a modest improvement across a broad base of firms could unlock billions of Gross Value Added every year.

The fifth pillar is to make the UK the safest place in the world to live and work online.

Our Internet Safety Strategy, published last month, is a substantial step towards that goal. The Strategy sets out how we all must play our role in tackling online harms. We want to bring together groups from across our whole society and hear from people of all backgrounds – including technology firms, schools, the voluntary sector, and citizens young and old as we turn ambition into reality.

We will bring in a statutory code of practice for social media companies, and are consulting on an industry levy to support educational programmes and technical solutions. We also want to see more transparency, to help inform future policy.

Ensuring the internet is safe means cyber security too, and our National Cyber Security Strategy, funded to the tune of £1.9bn, sets out what we are doing to help improve Britain’s cyber security.

One of the programme’s many aims is to find, finesse and fast-track tomorrow’s online security experts. Over 6000 young people – between 14 and 18 years old – are now being invited to test their skills in online cyber and problem solving challenges, via a £20 million training programme. They might then win a place on the Cyber Discovery scheme, where they can learn cutting-edge skills from cyber security experts.

But keeping citizens safe online means more than protecting against cyber crime. It means ensuring that norms of behaviour online match those we have always valued offline.

The Digital Strategy is now complemented by the Digital Charter, as introduced in the Manifesto. The Charter will reinforce the work we started with the Strategy but will further consider how we apply the liberal values we value offline to the online world, so we can seize the opportunities that unprecedented connectivity provides, while also mitigating the harms it creates.

Throughout we will be guided by three core principles. First, what is considered unacceptable offline should not be accepted online. Secondly, all users should be empowered to manage their own online risks. Lastly, technology companies have a responsibility to their users to develop and protect safe online communities.

And we are committed to bringing about a sustainable business model for high quality journalism. I welcome Google’s movement towards this, not least removing the one click free policy, but there is much more to do to ensure we find a genuinely sustainable business model for high quality journalism, as we have, for example, for the music industry that’s been through a similar radical disruption but found a way to a model that seems to be working.

The sixth pillar of the Strategy is to digitise Government.

Since the creation of Government Digital Services in 2011, Britain has been a world leader in such work.

From applying for a passport, to applying for lasting power of attorney, dozens of Government services have been digitised. The massive project to make tax digital is proceeding carefully, and the feedback from those who use the new digitised service is encouraging. Our G-cloud procurement system is being copied around the world, as it allows and encourages contracts to go to small innovative companies, not the traditional main players. In February this year, we had 3,947 suppliers on the Digital Marketplace, of which 93% were SMEs. And as a result out GovTech market is booming.

And so we arrive at the final pillar: data.

The Digital Strategy has also committed to unlocking the power of data in the UK economy and improving public confidence in its use. Research shows that, currently, more than 80 per cent of people feel that they do not have complete control over their data online, and that is too high.

So we are strengthening our data protection laws through the new Data Protection Bill, making UK law consistent with the EU’s GDPR. Under its proposals individuals will have more control over their data, through the right to be forgotten and to ask for their personal data to be erased. They will also be able to ask social media channels to delete information they posted in their childhood.

We want to end the existing reliance on default opt-out or pre-selected ‘tick boxes’, to give consent for organisations to collect personal data. We all know these are largely ignored. The Data Protection Bill will make it simpler to withdraw consent for the use of personal data and require explicit consent to be necessary for processing sensitive personal data. It also expands the definition of ‘personal data’ to include IP addresses, internet cookies and DNA.

New criminal offences will be created to deter organisations from creating situations – be it through pure recklessness or deliberate intent – where someone could be identified from anonymised data. The data protection regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office, will be given more power to defend consumer interests and issue higher fines for the most serious data breaches.

So there you have it. We may be in the foothills of this digital age but we are well equipped for the climb, and remain alert to any obstacles ahead. Much remains to do but I am confident the measures I’ve just outlined will continue to ensure our good progress.

Matt Hancock – 2017 Speech on Publishing

Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Minister of State for Digital, at the London Book Fair on 13 November 2017.

Good morning, and thank you for inviting me to speak at this important and timely conference.

The UK publishing industry is unequivocally world-beating. Of the 9 books to have ever sold more than 100 million copies, 6 are by British authors. To top it off, the Nobel Prize for Literature this year was won by British author Kazuo Ishiguro.

We are here to celebrate that success. And we are here to confront one of the biggest challenges facing publishing: diversity.

From Harry Potter to Never Let Me Go, publishing is our shop window as a nation. That’s why, more than any other industry, it’s essential that publishing reflects the rich diversity of the British people.

But diversity isn’t just a social responsibility, it’s an economic one: drawing on the largest possible talent pool makes business sense.

New ideas come when ideas collide. Ideas collide when people of different perspectives collide. Let us set ourselves the goal so eloquently put by Idris Elba: of diversity of thought.

There’s still much progress to be made. the most recent DCMS statistics show that only 11% of those working in the Creative Industries are BAME; though this is up 15% on 2015, an improvement more than 2 and half times that of the wider UK workforce.

Meanwhile, recent events in the entertainment industry serve as a reminder of the importance of building a Creative Industries workplace where all are treated equally and with respect, and opportunities are genuinely equal.

Significant strides towards diversity and inclusivity in publishing have been made in recent years: HarperCollins’s BAME Scheme, Penguin Pride, Little Brown’s new “inclusive” imprint Dialogue Books, to name just a few. These bold initiatives mark progress on diversity in the publishing industry, and I look forward to seeing their outcomes.

But it will take more than individual initiatives to make profound and lasting change to the publishing industry.

I’m delighted PA are bringing industry together around this new Action Plan. The plan addresses a number of potential stumbling blocks to diversity, from unconscious bias to a lack entry level opportunities and strong ambassadorship. Progress on diversity requires us all to do our part: I hope that the PA’s members will do theirs and commit to fully embracing this plan.

Government is doing its part, too, whether that’s role modelling diversity within the Civil Service through our new Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, or by supporting the Creative Industries sector to diversify through the excellent work of the Creative Industries Council.

Diversity is a particular priority for me: next year I plan to host the inaugural DCMS Diversity and Social Mobility Forum, scheduled for earlier this year but postponed due to the Westminster terror attack. At the Forum, heads of industry from sport to tech, media to museums will come together to share best practice on diversity. I hope some of you will join me there.

British people are defined and united by our rich publishing history, of which you are the latest chapter. Yet only by understanding our differences can we truly celebrate what we have in common: our desire to make the UK publishing industry the best in the world.

Let us take away this thought: we must be confident in that which binds us together, to give confidence to celebrate that which is unique in each person’s heart. Let us set that as our goal. And let us go forward, together.

Matt Hancock – 2017 Speech on UK and French Digital Strategy

Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Minister of State for Digital, in Paris on 7 November 2017.

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

I am grateful to the Embassy for organising this event.

The UK and France have a historic and close partnership and cybersecurity is no exception.

Whatever challenges we face in the future, with our strong partnership and talent in the UK and France, I know that we will always work to ensure the prosperity of our two countries.

We are neighbours. Neighbours here, neighbours today, neighbours tomorrow. Always neighbours.

Earlier this month we in the UK marked the first anniversary of our National Cyber Security Strategy. We have been busy, in securing Britain’s future online.

Like you, we have appointed our first ever Minister for Digital, and we have even renamed my department to make us the “Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport” to reflects the critical importance of all things digital to the UK.

Let’s recap on why this is so important.

In the UK, our tech industry created 3.5 million jobs in past year and 4 in 5 Brits bought something online in the past year – more than anywhere else in the world.

As jobs are increasingly changed, and as we face up to the fact there are jobs that technology destroys, so we must be at the forefront of the drive to create the new jobs that technology allows. We cannot stop the disruption, but we can help those disrupted, with a clear goal of redeployment, not unemployment.

And this great digital technology that is made by man, which brings great power and liberation and freedom must be hewn to benefit all mankind. The technology is made by man and it is within man’s gift to maximise its freedom while protecting the freedom of others.

While this mission is new, the principles that underpin it are old.

We can find some wisdom in the very founding documents of the French Republic.

On the internet, we seek nothing less than freedom, fraternity and equality.

Freedom, that we cherish the unprecedented and unimaginable freedoms the internet brings. This includes:

Fraternity, that we harness the internet to bring us together not tear people apart

Equality, that all of us online are treated fairly, that we benefit the same protections online as off, and that each and every one of us can benefit from the technology of tomorrow, equal to the dictum of Sir Tim Berners Lee, the founder of the world wide web, that ‘this is for everyone’

This need, this drive, to build an online world that cherishes these liberal values, the values of de Tocqueville, as well as Burke, is increasingly recognised around the world.

The internet is growing up, from a libertarian childhood, in which all connection was seen as a good thing, to a maturity where freedom must be tempered by the need to prevent harm.

As the great modern British philosopher Sir Roger Scruton has said: “In the libertarian free-for-all what is worst in human nature enjoys an equal chance with what is best, and discipline is repudiated as a meddlesome intrusion.” So what does this mean in practice?

In the UK, we have set out our approach as a Digital Charter, that will detail how the great freedoms online can be balanced with that discipline, each and everyone’s “important responsibilities”. To protect from harm, from abuse, to terrorist content, to protection of intellectual property.

And of course a safe internet is one where data is protected, and cyber security is strong. The UK has long identified cyber threats as a key challenge to our nation’s security. The National Cyber Security Strategy committed £1.9 billion for cyber, with the express goal making the UK the safest place to live and work online.

We have made significant progress towards these goals. We have created the National Cyber Security Centre, to bring together responsibilities, protect our critical services from cyber attacks, manage major incidents, and improve the security of the Internet in the UK. In that year alone, the NCSC dealt with 590 significant cyber attacks. More than one a day.

We are transforming the advice and guidance on offer to the public, based on ever-improving evidence and technical insight.

We have launched a range of initiatives to make sure the next generation have the cyber security skills to meet significant growing demand:

Our first apprenticeship scheme for critical sectors such as energy and transport was inundated with applications (nearly 1,250 people applied for the first 23 apprentice roles)

The CyberFirst Girls competition saw 8,000 talented 13-15 year olds take part

Our Cyber Schools Programme will train nearly 6,000 14-18 year olds over the coming years

We are also showing leadership in other areas, such as investigating security in the Internet of Things, to look at the best way to ensure internet-connected devices are safe, and have security built-in from the start.

And we can’t do these things alone. Critically, we need to work together with industry, and we have put huge effort into fostering and supporting a strong and vibrant cyber ecosystem.

The cybersecurity industry & ecosystem

We are active and restless in developing the whole ecosystem to support growth, innovation and security. I know here in France you are doing many similar things.

The UK and France both have thriving cyber ecosystems.

As one of the UK’s closest export markets and allies, France is a perfect partner for the UK in cyber, both in research and at a commercial level.

The UK’s cyber sector is booming. The workforce has grown significantly and cyber security exports were worth around £1.5 billion to the UK last year alone.

To stay ahead of the threat, it’s crucial we foster innovation in cyber security. That’s why we’re developing two Cyber Innovation Centres – in London and Cheltenham – to support the development of new technologies and the latest generation of cyber security companies. As part of that, we have established the GCHQ Cyber Accelerator – the first of its kind in the world – combining the world class expertise of the UK’s security and intelligence agency with start-ups to develop new capability, and leading edge academics.

But we mustn’t be complacent. It’s crucial we work with our international partners: working closely with them, sharing information, and facing challenges together – because our security is inextricably linked.

We are working to make the UK the best and most secure digital economy in the world. To that end, we will ensure our friends’ and our partners’ cyber safety whenever and however they do business with us.

And with that, I leave you with a salute, to the enduring values of freedom, fraternity and equality.

I hope you have a brilliant conference.

Long live the neighbours!

Matt Hancock – 2017 Speech on Supercharging the Digital Economy

Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Minister of State for Digital, to TechUK’s annual conference on 31 October 2017.

Thank you for the invitation to join you here today.

Whenever I’m with techUK, I feel I’m among like minds. Because my roots are in business, and my roots are in tech.

Both my parents started businesses, and all my siblings have started their own, and it might have seemed natural for me to learn from their example and take that route too – and to go into tech.

But what I also came to learn is that business needs the right environment to thrive. How can the whole system work against, or work for, the hardworking, enterprising, entrepreneurial founder?

This is a question I first asked for very personal reasons. When I was growing up, the business that my parents ran – my stepfather wrote the code, my mum was in charge – was all around me and the main subject even at our dinner table. My first job was in the company, solving the Y2K bug in COBOL.

When I was a teenager, in the early 1990s, recession hit. If our customers struggled, if they couldn’t pay their bills, then our business struggled along with them, and that impacted the twenty or so people we employed. Friends, I should say, as much as colleagues. At one point, in the worst of the recession, we came close to losing everything. My mum, my stepdad and all the people who worked in the business would have lost their jobs. All through no fault of our own, all through outside factors.

We got through it. In fact the software became a big hit. And now every time you type your postcode into the internet and it brings up your address, you can thank my stepdad Bob. I hope we’ve helped you with your Christmas shopping over the years.

But what those early experiences taught me was that it isn’t ever enough to have a good idea and the will to drive it through. To go from concept to reality – and then to ubiquity – requires a strong environment for enterprise.

And that environment, while best not entirely determined by Government policy, can certainly be shaped and guided by it.

Because while I did go on to work for the business, I then went to the Bank of England as an economist, and that’s where I discovered all the big decisions are made in Westminster. So here I am, and in a job directly concerned with improving the environment for tech businesses.

So I really feel it when I say it is an honour and a privilege to be the UK’s first ever Minister for Digital, working to give others the opportunities we had, to – wherever we can – help you take those ideas, those sparks of hope and make something real and successful.

But what does that mean, in this time of digital revolution?

It means harnessing this amazing new technology, so that it works for the benefit of everyone and not only an interested few. It means mitigating the risks, and ensuring the benefits can be accessed by all. It means supporting a thriving digital sector, and a digital infrastructure that is not only fit for the present but the future, with easy and ubiquitous access for everyone in this country to the growing opportunities digital technology offers.

Our Digital Strategy, published in March of this year, set out how we intend to make the UK the best place to establish and grow a digital business and the safest place for citizens to be online.

I’m pleased to tell you that, only six months since the launch, we are making great progress. Today, I would like to update you now on how we are making the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business, and how we are set to continue these developments in the very near future.

We understand that in order to have a thriving digital economy, we need to support tech businesses at every level, from startup to scaleup.

Over the past year we have seen investments in UK tech, including from Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, IBM and Google, and into British stars like Zopa, Monzo, and ARM.

We’ve significantly expanded the British Business Bank’s capacity in scale up capital, and actively support the opening of incubators across the country.

Preparing Britain for success in the rest of the twenty first century, in the face of the fastest advance in technology in history, means making sure everyone has the skills they need to thrive in the digital world.

Britain needs stronger digital skills at every level, from getting people online for the first time, to attracting and training the world’s top coding talent.

Again, this isn’t something we in Government can do on our own. So when we launched the Digital Strategy in March, we committed to establish a new Digital Skills Partnership, to both bring greater coherence to provision of digital skills training at a national level, and to increase the digital capability needed to build thriving local economies throughout the country. ​ Our partners in industry ​pledged​ more than four million free digital skills training opportunities​. Since then, we have made great progress, through companies like Barclays, Lloyds, Google, and many others.

On top of that, we have put coding in the curriculum from age 8, and recently announced that one of our first new T-level technical qualifications will be in Digital.

We want all these opportunities to be open to as wide a range of people as possible. We firmly believe that digital skills are essential, for everyone, to thrive in this digital age and that training in such skills should be an entitlement for all our citizens. So we legislated for Digital Skills Entitlement in the Digital Economy Act and are now developing the detail of the policy with the Department of Education. My friend and colleague Karen Bradley, Secretary of State for DCMS, and I are working to deliver this entitlement, so that everyone can get the basic skills they need.

We’re not stopping at digital skills, we are also looking at technologies of the future.

The Industrial Strategy Green Paper, published in January, identified AI as a major opportunity for the UK, with real potential to boost our future economy. We already have some of the best minds in the world working on AI, and many areas of the UK economy – health, education, finance, to name just three – have already embraced innovation through AI.

The challenge now for Government is to build a strong partnership with industry and academia to cement our position as the best place in the world to base and develop this new technology.

So in March we launched an independent review – Growing The Artificial Intelligence Industry – led by Jérôme Pesenti and Dame Wendy Hall. The final report was published just a couple of weeks ago and sets out what we must do to support the enormous potential of AI – from smarter scheduling of operations in health care, to hiring on-demand self-driving cars – while mitigating its risks. My thanks to Dame Wendy, Jérôme and team for their excellent work.

Now I look forward to working with all of you, and with the wider industry, to deliver its proposals. Together we can make the UK a world leader in this amazing new technology, and can make sure all our citizens benefit from its use.

We are also endeavouring to make the UK the safest place in the world to live and work online, as set out in detail in our Digital Charter, which sets out to balance the freedom of the internet whilst mitigating potential harms.

We want to work closely with all of you to develop solutions to the issues at hand. We will make sure that the Charter is underpinned by an effective regulatory framework, but will only use regulation where other options are not working. Where regulation is necessary, we will ensure it supports rather than stifles innovation and growth, by providing clarity for innovators and building confidence amongst users.

So there we are. Just over six months on from our Digital Strategy and we have been consistently working on making the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business.

But coming from small business myself, I know there are more good ideas out there. So I want to hear from you, I want to know what we’re getting right, what we’re getting wrong, what amazing innovations you’re developing, and how we can make it easier for you to grow your businesses here in the UK.

We have a big agenda and much to do, and I look forward to working with you to deliver it.

Matt Hancock – 2017 Speech on Building a Full Fibre Britain

Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Minister of State for Digital, at the Broadband Stakeholder Group 2017 Conference held on 2 November 2017.

Thanks for the opportunity to speak with you today.

Like many of you, I often meet interesting people in my job. But there’s one serious frustration. And that is, just as I’m talking to them about the many fascinating things they do, instead they want to badger me about their broadband. Every day.

This problem reached its zenith just last week when I met Tim Peake, Britain’s inspirational astronaut, and he collared me about the broadband on his space station.

Tim, for next time you’re up there, I’m sure one of our ambitious Altnets can help.

So today is different. Because today, it’s you who’ve got to listen to me talk about broadband. And not just my broadband, but everyone’s.

It is a full year since I spoke to the Broadband World Forum, and set out our plans for a full fibre future. Today I want to talk about the exciting momentum that is building in this industry and about our plans for the future.

Let’s start by acknowledging Britain’s current high levels of connectivity.

The recent Global Connectivity Index published by Huawei, once again ranked the UK top five out of 50 major nations in terms of connectivity.

Our superfast connectivity is the best in Europe.

Our economy has the biggest digital economy, by proportion, of major nations, and we have one of the highest percentages of individual Internet usage. President Trump’s use of Twitter probably contributes to America’s higher score.

This is in no small part because Government has strongly supported the digitalisation of the economy, and made sure the business environment is friendly to new innovations and the growth of the market.

The statistics to back this up are clear.

We have announced that up to £645 million is to be made available to help take superfast broadband coverage to 98 per cent of the nation over the next few years.

In total we are investing £1.1 billion in our digital infrastructure to support the next generation of fast and reliable mobile and broadband communications for consumers and businesses.

And to support businesses we are introducing 100% business rates relief for operators who install new fibre on their networks.

Superfast broadband is also now available to over 94% of premises, on the way to hitting our target of 95% by the end of the year, and on mobile, the MNOs are legally obliged to reaching ninety per cent geographic coverage by December. 4G coverage continues to rise sharply.

The Connectivity Index also predicts that, as these amazing digital technologies advance, our advantage will drive future economic growth. That’s one economic forecast I am prepared to make.

But we can always, always do better.

Over the past year we have published both our Digital Strategy and published our 5G strategy.

We have agreed on the separation of BT and Openreach.

Virgin Media continues at pace with the rollout of Project Lightning bringing ultrafast speeds to more and more of the country.

KCOM are also doing their part and are on track to cover 150,000 premises with their Lightstream Project in Hull.

We have seen record levels of investment into the altnets, including £500 million from Cityfibre and £200 million from Hyperoptic.

Openreach has established its independent board and declared its clear direction in the pursuit of the full fibre future.

We have published proposals for the USO.

We have secured over a billion pounds more of taxpayers’ money for next generation technologies and we have introduced rate relief for putting new fibre into the ground.

So we have been busy.

I think this effort demonstrates beyond any doubt the UK Government’s commitment to a full fibre and 5G future. We are guided by our mission to deliver full connectivity where people live, work, and travel.

I said a year ago that “I will be on the side of the challenger, helping in every way I can to deliver fair competition and a level playing field.”

I meant it then, I mean it now.

And I’m delighted the Altnets are going from strength to strength.

CityFibre, which is already in more than 40 cities, has announced plans to extend its network in more than ten extra cities across the UK.

Gigaclear is bringing ultrafast speeds to consumers and their network now spans over 15 counties.

Community schemes like B4RN and others are expanding.

Indeed INCA has estimated that coverage from its members could potentially reach 18 per cent of UK premises by 2020.

We welcome these developments and encourage more.

But before I set out our next steps on delivering full fibre and 5G, let’s turn first to progress on the current technology of fibre to the cabinet or, as it might better be known, copper-to-the-premise.

We have invested £1.7bn of UK taxpayers’ money in delivering superfast broadband. For today’s needs, it delivers what an average household wants.

Reaching 95% by the end of the year is a very important milestone, and not least with the over £600m of funding from claw-back in the existing BDUK contacts, we hope to go further.

Universal coverage of high speed broadband of at least 10Mbps is an important manifesto commitment that we must deliver, so everyone has today’s technology, as we develop the solutions and market for tomorrow’s.

On the USO, we have published our consultation on the regulatory option and will be responding to the consultation shortly.

We are also considering the offer put forward by BT to deliver the USO. We welcome their proposal, and we are considering both options on the table, but unless BT can convince us they will deliver universal coverage by 2020 we will have no option but to go down the regulatory route.

We are determined to deliver high speed broadband to all by 2020.

And then, we turn our attention to full fibre. For while the existing copper network is important today, a copper-to-the-premise solution is not fit for the future.

So while completing the rollout of today’s technology is important, we are determined to be on the front foot with the technology of tomorrow too. That means full fibre. We cannot stress enough that full fibre is the future.

For we are in the very early days. UK full fibre coverage is just 3%. This will not stand. We will strain every sinew to get it rolled out in Britain.

Over the last year we have unveiled a whole suite of policies to get the UK’s full fibre roll out going.

Like the CTTP roll out, this is a mixed-economy approach: with some taxpayers’ funding, but the majority of funding from the market.

First, we are helping to level the playing field by supporting insurgent altnets reach their fibre ambitions through the Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund, which will improve access to commercial finance.

Next, we are investing £200m to fund locally-led projects across the UK. This “Local Full Fibre Networks” programme aims to provide the fastest and most reliable broadband available.

Working with providers and local bodies we have shaped a programme focused on improving the business case for the private sector to invest in fibre networks, and to connect even more homes and businesses.

The Local Full Fibre Network project involves upgrading connections into public buildings with fibre, providing gigabit connection vouchers to increase business take-up; and improving access upgrades to publicly-owned infrastructure. And we’re working with Network Rail and others to open up existing fibre, and roll out new fibre down train lines. This rail project is incredibly important and we welcome approaches from industry on how to get connectivity down our railways.

We’ve got going. Our six wave one projects will trial the approaches outlined for the programme, including public sector as an anchor tenant, reusing public sector infrastructure, and testing gigabit vouchers.

We are particularly interested in how the market responds and how much full fibre build is stimulated.

But we’re not just waiting for the results. We’re already pushing on with the next wave.

We are developing a competitive process for local areas to bid for resources from a ‘Challenge Fund’, and that is for projects that will support the stimulation of large scale commercial investment in full fibre networks. Recently we invited local bodies from across the UK to submit expressions of interest in the programme, and their responses will help further shape how we operate this fund.

Details on how the fund can be accessed will be announced shortly, and at that launch we will clearly explain the competitive process through which funding will be allocated. Be clear, there will be no ring fencing of funds to particular regions. Regional roadshow events in support of the Challenge Fund process will take place over the coming months.

The crucial thing about all these projects is that they are actively designed to show this works, to level the playing field, and to help make the business case both inside and outside Government.

Of course taxpayers cash isn’t everything. So we’re also working on reducing cost and ensuring the market is structured right.

Many of you have complained about the cost of laying fibre. Ofcom are working to reduce costs, to open up ducts and poles, to reduce burdens and to get the wholesale pricing structures right. They and we are determined to ensure there is a strong return on the investment that is so badly needed. We very much welcome Ofcom’s efforts in these areas and hope the outcome of the Wholesale Local Access market review will further encourage fibre investment. And I welcome the laser-focus of Lord Adonis’s National Infrastructure Commission which is demonstrating the case for and the terrific returns to connectivity.

To reduce some of the direct costs of roll out, on top of the business rates holiday, we have set up a barrier busting taskforce across Government.

In May 2017 the Broadband Stakeholder Group published its report ‘Tackling Barriers to Telecoms Deployment’. This looked at the factors slowing down the rollout of UK Broadband, including local authority planning and the business rates regime for fibre.

As a direct response to this excellent report, our Barrier Busting Taskforce aims to reduce the costs of street-works, liberalising planning, to simplify wayleave agreements and tackle every and any barrier to rollout. We will systematically examine every issues flagged in the report, and then working with local bodies to identify solutions or to implement best practice. We are working with local authorities to standardise their approach and reduce bureaucracy, and we’re prepared to change regulations if needed, on planning, transport, and wayleave rules if we need to. We want to hear from you about the practical barriers to deployment.

Like you, we want to get the cost per premise passed down.

As well as government funding, and busting barriers, we are determined to ensure that we get the market structure and incentives right.

I believe that the market for full fibre will look very different to the market for copper connections, and we want to see a fully competitive market for full fibre with a panoply of potential players. And I’m pretty sure one of the reasons so many players large and small are getting going at scale now is to play a part in that competitive market in the future.

The first action we took last year of course was to reach agreement on the future structure of BT and Openreach. I welcome that agreement, and I can already see the new Independent Board under the astute Chairmanship of Mike McTigue making a difference.

The test of the success of the legal separation will be twofold.

First, significantly increased investment by BT Group, through Openreach in the country’s full fibre digital infrastructure.

And second, Openreach becoming more responsive to its industry customers, both by entering into new arrangements with customers other than BT group, and being proactive and enthusiastic on working with others on the ground, for example opening up access to ducts and poles. Like Ofcom, we want Openreach to provide better access to data on its duct and poles so competitors can plan new networks.

While I welcome the work Openreach are doing to reposition themselves, I am concerned at the speed BT Group are moving in formally implementing the agreed split. Unless we make significant progress very soon we will have to talk to Ofcom about what would be needed to make this happen.

So, we have made progress in improving the market, to ensure we have a competitive market for our full fibre future.

But we want to make sure we get it right.

So in the coming months, we will be examining the market for investment in future connectivity in the UK, to ensure we have markets and regulations that encourage investment now and in the future. The purpose of this work, which we shall lead, will be to build on what has been achieved so far, and make sure that the conditions are as good as they can be to maximise investment in full fibre and new technologies.

This commitment to developing a full fibre Britain will make the country the best place in the world for a telecommunications company to invest, because with full fibre comes unlimited potential for business. I’m not sure if I mentioned, but we really are determined to deliver Britain’s full fibre future.

Finally, I want to turn to the interaction with mobile. Because of course what really matters to people is not the mode, but the connection. A fast, reliable, secure connection, whenever you need it, wherever you live, work, and travel.

In a market that’s increasingly vertically integrated, the links between fibre and mobile are increasingly clear.

At a basic level, I find it astonishing that a large proportion of 4G base stations today are connected via copper and radio links. While this may be adequate for 4G services, it makes it hard to maximise the benefits of 4G, let alone reach the fast approaching multi-gigabit demands of 5G.

And we’re going to need fibre spines in much greater density to deliver that 5G connection.

I don’t believe 5G and full fibre are alternatives. Even if 5G can bring great speeds to your phone, there’s only ever limited spectrum, so full fibre and 5G are complementary technologies.

Our 5G strategy, published at Budget 2017, sets out how we will lead the world in 5G, and we are working on an update to be published before the end of the year.

In October, we launched a competition to select a number of projects to be funded in 2018/19 as part of the 5G Testbeds & Trials programme.

This first phase of the programme will help encourage the development of a 5G ecosystem in the UK and builds on the foundations laid by our investment in the 5G university research announced at the Budget. As with full fibre, our aim is to demonstrate the benefits 5G can deliver for businesses and how new applications and services can be developed using 5G technology.

The full fibre and 5G programmes are being taken forward under a shared budget, and we hope to fund joint projects that explore the interplay between the two.

As I travel the world I am yet to find a country more prepared than we are for 5G. I’m absolutely determined that Britain will be at the front of the queue.

So there you have it.

I’ll end by saying this.

We all want people to stop badgering us about their broadband. And I want to ensure they don’t have to badger us ever again, whether they are up in space or down here on earth.

We have set these goals. We’ve hired some brilliant people to deliver them. We are clear-eyed in our ambition.

But we can’t do it without you.

We can get the ball rolling. We can set the framework.

But it is you, the businesses of Britain, who are going to deliver the connectivity people crave.

So take this moment. Rise to the challenge. And together we will give Britain what it needs to be fit for the future.

Matt Hancock – 2017 Speech on the Digital Strategy

Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Minister for Digital, to the Institute of Directors’ Digital Strategy Summit on 17 October 2017.

Thank you for the invitation to join you here today.

I always feel at home when I’m at the IoD. I feel at home, because when I am at home, I’m surrounded by entrepreneurs.

My first job was solving the Y2K bug in cobalt in my family tech company. Both my parents started businesses. All my siblings have started their own businesses. I’m the one who took the low risk career – although given the last couple of years it doesn’t always feel like that.

With that background, it would have been easy for me to go into business too. I love it, find it interesting, and I profoundly believe that business, done right, is a force for good in the world.

But I didn’t, and there’s a reason. When I was growing up, the business that my parents ran – my stepfather wrote the code, my mum was in charge – the business was all around me and the main subject at the dinner table.

In the early 1990s, I was a teenager. When recession hit, one of our big customers was struggling, and couldn’t pay their bills. We got to a point when if a cheque didn’t arrive by the end of the week, the business would collapse. We would lose everything as a family, and both my mum and stepdad would have been unemployed, and the twenty or so people who worked in the business, who we felt very strongly for, would have lost their jobs too. All through no fault of our own.

Thankfully, late in the week the cheque did come. I remember the moment to this day. The business was saved, and the software became a big hit. So now, every time you type your postcode into the internet and it brings up your address, you can thank my stepdad Bob. I hope we’ve helped you with your christmas shopping over the years.

This searing experience, as a teenager, made me start to ask the bigger questions: how can a perfectly decent business nearly go bust, because the economy had gone wrong? What can be done to stop that happening again.

And while I did go on to work for the business, I then went to the Bank of England as an economist, and there I discovered that all the big decisions are made in Westminster. So here I am.

And it is an honour and a privilege to be the UK’s first ever Minister for Digital, working to give others the opportunities I had, and to stop others suffering the fate we escaped so narrowly.

So what does this mean, in this time of digital revolution?

It means harnessing this amazing new technology, so that it works for the benefit of everyone. It means mitigating the risks, and ensuring the benefits can be accessed by all. It means supporting a thriving digital sector, a digital infrastructure that is not only fit for the present but the future, and easy and ubiquitous access for everyone in this country to the building opportunities digital technology offers.

We’ve even changed the name of the department to include Digital. And as a Department we are expanding, bringing some of the finest minds from within Whitehall and from outside to work on getting this right.

Our Digital Strategy, published in March of this year, set out how we intend to make the UK the best place to establish and grow a digital business and the safest place for citizens to be online.

It set out seven pillars that underpin the changes we need to see and I would like to update you now on how we have already delivered on those, and how we are set to deliver further in the very near future.

The Digital Strategy is complemented by the Digital Charter, as set out in the Manifesto, that sets out our approach to making the UK both the best possible place for digital businesses and the safest place for people to be online. On the former, it’s about pursuing a plan that reinforces the work we started with the Strategy, and on the latter, we need to approach the internet from a set of liberal values that allow us to seize the opportunities that unprecedented connectivity provides while also mitigating some of the harms it creates.

Strategies and promises mean nothing if you don’t push them through. I’m pleased to tell you that, only six months since the launch, we are making great progress.

The first pillar, and central to everything is infrastructure. In the Digital Strategy we committed to building a world-class digital infrastructure for the UK. That means ubiquitous coverage, so no one is left out, and with sufficient capacity not only for today’s needs but in readiness for tomorrow.

We are making good progress in delivering today’s technology to all.

We are on track to meet the target, set out in the Strategy, of superfast broadband coverage at 95% by the end of 2017. Then to reach the final 5%, in the Digital Economy Act, which received Royal Assent in April this year, we legislated for a Universal Service Obligation to deliver decent broadband to all. We recognise that broadband is now essentially a utility, not a nice to have. And I’m delighted that this is increasingly delivered by a competitive market of providers.

For mobile reception, each MNO is obliged to provide voice coverage to 90% of the UK by the end of this year, and the speed of rollout has been impressive – 4G premises coverage rose from 29% in 2015 to 72% last year. In our Manifesto we set out that the next step is 95% coverage of the UK landmass, so people are connected where they live, work, and travel.

We’re tackling, with the Advertising Standards Authority, the misleading use of so-called “up to” speeds, and the misdescription of technologies like “fibre” broadband, when it’s actually copper-to-the-premise. And we’re supporting community broadband providers to get to some of the hardest to reach parts of the country with the help of local residents.

At the same time as fixing the current technology, we must focus on the next generation: 5G and full fibre.

Our 5G strategy, released at Spring Budget 2017, outlined the steps we will take. As part of a £1.1 billion investment in digital infrastructure, we are funding a coordinated programme of integrated fibre and 5G trials to ensure the UK leads the world in 5G connectivity.

To meet this ambition, Government, industry and academia must all work together. Just yesterday we launched the first competition for 5G Testbeds & Trials funding in 2018-19. We’re inviting bids for the innovative use of 5G, so we learn very early what we need to do to support its roll out in the real world.

So supporting infrastructure – both the current and future technologies – is the first pillar of the digital strategy.

The next pillar is skills.

Britain needs stronger digital skills at every level, from getting people online for the first time, to attracting and training the very top coding talent in the world.

It’s something we in Government can’t do on our own. So when we launched the Digital Strategy in March, we committed to establish a new Digital Skills Partnership, to both bring greater coherence to provision of digital skills training at a national level, and to increase the digital capability needed to build thriving local economies throughout the country.

When we launched the Strategy, with industrial partners we promised to create more than four million digital training places. Just six months in, we and our partners have already over-delivered on this promise. Since that date, much progress has been made, including through companies like Barclays, Lloyds, Google, and many others.

This comes on top of putting coding in the curriculum from age 8, and last week the announcement that one of the first of our new T-level technical qualifications will be in Digital.

We want all these opportunities to be open to as wide a range of people as possible. We firmly believe that digital skills are essential, for everyone, to thrive in this digital age and that training in such skills should be an entitlement for all our citizens. So we legislated for Digital Skills Entitlement in the Digital Economy Act and are now developing the detail of the policy with the Department of Education. My friend and colleague Karen Bradley – Secretary of State for DCMS and I are working to deliver this entitlement, so that everyone can get the basic skills they need.

Of course the greatest demand for skills is the tech industry itself.

Over the past year we have seen investments in UK tech, including from Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, IBM, Google, and into British stars like Zopa, Monzo, and ARM.

We’ve significantly expanded the British Business Bank’s capacity in scale up capital, and support the opening of incubators across the country. Pushing for a good deal for the tech industry is a core part of our Brexit negotiations, including the free flow of data and seeking to settle the issue of EU nationals at the earliest opportunity – a goal currently being frustrated by the European side.

Ultimately, the goal of this third pillar of the Digital Strategy is to make Britain the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business, so that everyone who has an idea and the will to make it happen.

When it comes broadening opportunity, we are committed to helping every British business become a digital business.

That’s the fourth pillar of the Digital Strategy.

In July we launched the Productivity Council, which, developed through discussions with UK business leaders, the Confederation of British Industry and the Institute of Directors, has been designed to encourage and support UK businesses to go digital. Analysis suggests that only a modest improvement across a broad base of firms could unlock billions of Gross Value Added every year.

As an example of how we continue to encourage and support innovation, last month we together with TCUK launched our FinTech For All competition, targeted at fintech startups who show they can make a real difference to people in danger of being left behind by conventional financial services. We want to help startups who show they can help people struggling to manage their money, and make financial services available to all.

The next, fifth, pillar is to make the UK the safest place in the world to live and work online, as set out in detail in our Digital Charter.

As part of the Digital Strategy, our Digital Charter sets out how we need to balance the freedom of the internet with the need to mitigate its harms.

Our Internet Safety Strategy, published last week, sets out our plan for making the UK the safest place in the world to be online.

The Strategy sets out how we all must play our role in tackling issues of online harms. We want to bring together groups from across our whole society and hear from people of all backgrounds – including technology firms, schools, the voluntary sector, and citizens young and old as we turn that ambition into reality.

We will bring in a statutory code of practice for social media companies, we are consulting on an industry levy to support educational programmes and technical solutions, and we want to see more transparency to help inform future policy.

Throughout we will be guided by three core principles. The first is that what is considered unacceptable offline should not be accepted online. Secondly, all users should be empowered to manage online risks and stay safe. Lastly, technology companies have a responsibility to their users to develop safe online communities.

To protect the amazing openness and freedom of the Internet that are its greatest strengths, we must balance an individual’s freedom with respect for the freedom of others online, just as we do offline.

Ensuring the internet is safe means cyber security too, and our National Cyber Security Strategy, funded to the tune of £1.9bn, sets out what we are doing to help improve Britain’s cyber security.

Now of course the security of any data is firmly the responsibility of the owner of that data – a principle that will be reinforced with the new Data Protection Bill – but Government has a role, to protect the nation, set standards so technology is secure by design, to educate, and for incident response.

The sixth pillar of the digital strategy is to digitise Government.

Since the creation of GDS in 2011, Britain has been a world leader in digitising Government.

Dozens of Government services have been digitised, from applying for a passport, to applying for lasting power of attorney. The massive project to make tax digital is proceeding carefully, and the feedback from those who use the new digitised service is excellent. Our G-cloud procurement system is being copied around the world, as it allows and encourages contracts to go to small innovative companies, not the traditional main players. In February this year, we had 3,947 suppliers on the Digital Marketplace, of which 93% were SMEs. And as a result out GovTech market is booming.

Just a fortnight ago, the Lord Chancellor tested the new small courts service digital solution, which seeks to open up access to justice.

And our manifesto set out exciting next steps, including opening up geospatial data, and assuring peoples’ digital identity.

This brings me to the final pillar: data.

The Digital Strategy committed to unlocking the power of data in the UK economy and improving public confidence in its use. Data underpins any digital economy, and the effective use of data is built on trust. Research shows that, currently, more than 80 per cent of people feel that they do not have complete control over their data online, and that is too high.

So we are strengthening our data protection laws through the new Data Protection Bill, making UK law consistent with the EU’s GDPR. Under its proposals individuals will have more control over their data, through the right to be forgotten and to ask for their personal data to be erased. They will also be able to ask social media channels to delete information they posted in their childhood – news that mightn’t yet be as welcome to the teen users of Twitter and Instagram as it will be when they look back on their posts some years from now.

We also want to end the existing reliance on default opt-out or pre-selected ‘tick boxes’, to give consent for organisations to collect personal data, which we all know are largely ignored. The Data Protection Bill will make it simpler to withdraw consent for the use of personal data and require explicit consent to be necessary for processing sensitive personal data. It also expands the definition of ‘personal data’ to include IP addresses, internet cookies and DNA.

On top of all that, new criminal offences will be created to deter organisations from creating situations – either intentionally or through pure recklessness – where someone could be identified from anonymised data. The data protection regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office, will be given more power to defend consumer interests and issue higher fines for the most serious data breaches.

And getting the governance around data right is about more than just the legislation.

Good use of data means understanding and living with the ethical dilemmas and boundaries that artificial intelligence brings. When machines are making choices that until now have been made by humans, it’s important they stay inside the rules, but vital too that the ethics of the consequences of those decisions are considered.

Data underpins the insurance industry. But what characteristics is it right for an algorithm to take account of when deciding the level of the premium?

How do we deal with discrimination that can be thrown up by the application of AI to real world examples?

I believe that getting the full governance of data right: the rules, the enforcement, and the ethical norms of behaviour, will set Britain fair to lead in the new world of big data, machine learning, and AI.

Earlier this week we published a stunning report by Dame Wendy Hall and Jerome Pesenti into what we must do to be a world leader. I look forward very much to working with them and others to deliver on their proposals, and make the UK a world leader in this amazing new technology.

So there we have it. Just over six months on from our Digital Strategy and we have been building all seven pillars of our digital strategy.

And I want to end with this message. We can only deliver the UK’s digital strategy in partnership, between Government, yes, providing leadership, a legislative framework, and occasionally taxpayers’ cash.

But Government in partnership with academia, civil society, and businesses large and small.

And coming from small business myself, I know there are more good ideas out there than in here. So I want to hear from you, I want to know what we’re getting right, what we’re getting wrong, what amazing innovations you’re developing, and how we can make it easier for you to grow your businesses here in the UK.

We have a big agenda and much to do, and I look forward to working with you to deliver it.

Matt Hancock – 2017 Speech on the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Matt Hancock

Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Minister of State for Digital, on 16 October 2017.

One of the roles of Parliament is to cast ahead, to look to the horizon, and tackle the great challenges of our time.

So I applaud the creation of the APPG on the fourth industrial revolution, which surely is one of the greatest challenges we face, as a nation, and as a world.

The nature of the technologies is materially different to what has come before. In the past, we’ve thought of consumption as a one-off, and capital investment as additive. Yet put resources into the networks that now connect half the world, or into AI, and the effects are exponential.

The reason is that the cost of storing and transmitting information has fallen, perhaps faster than at any time since the invention of the printing press. That time it transformed the world, democratised knowledge, and brought down the whole feudal system of Government. This time it’s just got started.

And the nature of the new technologies is that the changes we are experiencing today, are probably the slowest changes we will see over the rest of our lifetimes. If you don’t much like change, I’m afraid I don’t have so much good news.

Our task, in this building and around the world, is to make this technology, this change, work for humanity. And I’m profoundly confident we can. Because this technology is made by man, so it can be hewn to build a better future for mankind.

And I’m delighted to speak alongside so many impressive colleagues who really understand this, and alongside Professor Klaus Schwab who literally ‘wrote the book’ on the 4th Industrial Revolution. Your work, bringing together as you do all the best minds on the planet, has informed what we are doing, and I’m delighted to work with you.

For the 1st Industrial Revolution, the UK could claim to be the ‘workshop of the world’ – propelled by development of the steam engine, it reached its pinnacle in the mid-19th Century. But the UK has not had the monopoly on waves of industrialisation.

Now, in the fourth revolution, we are determined to use our strengths to play a leading part. By its nature the fourth industrial revolution is more collaborative than the first. And we will play our part.

The UK is already a world leader in key technologies – AI, nano and biotechnologies, and additive manufacturing to name a few. Our Industrial Strategy outlines what we’re doing to ensure the UK is a leader overall.

And our Digital Strategy, embedded within the wider Industrial Strategy, sets out the seven pillars on which we can build our success. And inside that fits our 5G strategy, like a set of Russian Dolls.

Our Strategy covers infrastructure, skills, rules and ethics of big data use, cyber security, supporting the tech sector, the digitisation of industry, and digitisation of government. All these are important.

You will, for example, have seen that just yesterday we launched our review into Artificial Intelligence by Jerome Pesenti and Wendy Hall. It’s an excellent report which sets out what we need to do to support the enormous potential of AI while mitigating its risks. We want Britain to be at the forefront of work in AI, and this report shows the way.

Today I want to focus on just two of those areas: skills and infrastructure.

The 4th Industrial Revolution will change the kinds of jobs needed in industry. Our strong view is that as a nation we must create the jobs of the future. Digital revolution brings with it disruption. And as the RSA so powerfully set out last month, the risk is not that we adopt new technologies that destroy jobs. The risk to jobs comes from not adopting new technologies. Our task is to support redeployment not unemployment.

Our goal must be to automate work, but humanise jobs. Allow machines to do the dangerous, boring, and repetitive, and ensure we humans have the capacity to do the creative, empathetic and interactive.

We need a full spectrum skills response, from school to retirement.

So we now have coding in the curriculum from age 8. For those already in work, the Digital Skills Entitlement provides free access to basic training and promotes lifelong learning.

We can’t do this on our own, so our Digital Skills Partnership de-conflicts the huge amount of work going on in the private sector.

It’s critical we have next-generation digital infrastructure in place. We’re taking steps to cement our position as a world leader in future technologies of full fibre and 5G through the £740m of funding from the National Productivity Investment Fund that the Chancellor announced last year.

Travelling around the world I see much excitement at 5G, and I’m confident the UK will be at the front of the queue. And I’m determined we will do our bit.

So today I am delighted to announce that we are launching the first £25m competition for 5G testbeds and trials projects. We already lead on the highly technical development of 5G standards through the international work of the University of Surrey and others.

Now we are looking for innovative projects to test the roll out of 5G to develop the UK’s growing 5G ecosystem. We want projects that explore the real-world potential for 5G for example:

– to deliver benefits for businesses;
– to develop new 5G applications and services;
– to develop and exploring new business models around key 5G technologies;  – or to reduce the commercial risks associated with investment in 5G.

It will also support projects which explore ways of using 5G technology to address challenges in particular sectors, such as those faced in health and social care.

It’s all about preparing Britain to take advantage of these extraordinary new technologies.

Earlier this year, the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ was not a very well-known term – at least before it became a central topic at the World Economic Forum. It recently made its way into an item on BBC Breakfast television – this shows we’ve probably started to reach critical mass.

It’s a pleasure now to introduce the man who made the fourth industrial revolution a household phrase: Professor Klaus Schwab.

Matt Hancock – 2017 Speech on the Global Cyber Challenge

Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Minister of State for Digital, at the opening ceremony for Singapore international Cyber Week on 18 September 2017.

I am delighted to be here with you today.

We meet at an auspicious time.

A time of change faster than anyone has known. Around the world, we are living through a technological revolution which brings unimaginable opportunity. And with this unimaginable opportunity, so too risks unknown just a few short years ago.

The internet fifty years ago. The world wide web, twenty five years after that. Ten years ago, social media and the smartphone, and now artificial intelligence and machine learning. New generic technologies that have sporned a thousand revolutions, from fintech, to lawtech, to edtech or govtech, indeed in almost every area of our lives. The pace of change is relentless. And if you don’t much like change, I’ve got bad news. For the nature of artificial intelligence means we are likely to be experiencing, right now, the slowest change we will see for the rest of our lifetimes.

So now is a good moment to bring together some of the leading nations in the world of digital technology. And it’s good to be here in Singapore for this discussion. Like us, Singapore is a small island nation with an emphatically global reach, that revels in a culture that’s open and looks for trading partners the world over among friends and neighbours, near and far.

And amongst friends, let us be open and talk not just of those opportunities, but how we protect those opportunities, for the good of all our citizens, from those who would do harm.

Since its conception, the internet has brought enormous freedom. But the internet is growing up. To protect that freedom as it grows we must also be restless in protecting a safety and security online.

From the pioneering work of Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage to the visionary Tim Berners-Lee, the UK has always been at the forefront of digital innovation.

Yet around the world, none of us can rest on our laurels. For each nation, even areas where our strengths are well-established, such as our world-renowned creative industries, are being transformed, and kept at the cutting edge, by developments in technology.

I feel this keenly, as before I became the Digital Minister, my first job was solving the Y2K bug in cobol. Thankfully, that went ok.

Yet even the most enthusiastic supporter of new technology must acknowledge that it also brings risks. The challenge we now face is how to harness the power of emerging technology so it works always in our favour, always to improve the quality of people’s lives, and that where it poses dangers we mitigate against them.

In 2011 we hosted the London Conference on Cyberspace, a discussion that continues in New Delhi later this year. From ASEAN to the UN, Interpol to ICANN, we are strengthening our partnerships on a bilateral, regional and global level to collectively tackle threats, build confidence and transparency, and strengthen global cyber security.

That includes building capacity in less developed nations so they can combat threats at source. This work involves supporting the development and implementation of national cyber security strategies, and we’ve supported capacity building projects in over 50 countries in the past few years.

As we negotiate our exit from the European Union, and position ourselves as Global Britain, we aim to be even more open to collaboration, with all our international friends and partners. In this age of digital we are all becoming more and more connected. It is estimated that in less than a decade the Internet will connect one trillion things.

Both our countries will take on major responsibilities next year. Singapore will be chair of ASEAN and the United Kingdom will host the Commonwealth Summit in London. I am sure these will both be great opportunities to deepen our friendship and strengthen our working relationships.

Today I’d like to share with you the principles we apply to the cyber challenge:

Principles of openness to new ideas, of adaption to change; and preparing for the future.

How we seek to seize the opportunities of the growing tech industry, how we adapt to the changing environment, and how we are preparing for what lies ahead.

The first principle is to be open and optimistic about the opportunities digital technology is creating, for businesses and for all citizens. We seek an internet that is open and free. And we seek a tech industry that is vibrant and innovative. The UK’s tech industry has huge momentum, is growing strongly, and is ripe for investment.

Since 2001, tech industries have created 3.5 million new jobs in the UK, more than four times the number that have been replaced. London is now recognised as one of the top tech clusters in the world, and we have internationally competitive hubs across the whole UK. Over just the last year a whole series of multi-billion pound investments have been agreed.

This openness and this technology is helping our citizens, to learn, to better manage their finances, to access government services and simply be better connected to their friends, their family and to new acquaintances. In short, technology improves people’s lives.

So our first principle is never to see just the threat, but keep front of mind the fundamental openness of the internet, and its power to do good.

The second principle is to be ready to respond to change and honest about the risks.

The UK categorises cyber crime as a tier one threat to our national security. Since 2011 we have had in place a National Cyber Security Strategy, which sets out how a full spectrum plan.

The Strategy covers the direct tasks we in Government must take to detect threats, deter and disrupt adversaries, and keep Britain secure online. But moreover, it recognises that we can’t do this alone.

Our full spectrum approach ranges from developing the new skills and expertise we need, supporting the cyber ecosystem, collaboration with critical infrastructure, the established cyber industry, start ups, and academia to protect our national security and protect the public’s way of life, while contributing to our prosperity and building a more trusted and resilient digital environment. I’ve been struck here in Singapore just how similar the challenges, and the responses are.

Our growing expertise was perhaps best showcased during the 2012 Olympics. The London games were the first ever “digital games” – the first to provide public Wi-Fi access in all Olympic venues, with more content broadcast online than ever before, and much of it accessed via mobile devices – and yet, despite a peak of over 11,000 attacks per second, the network was never once compromised.

We are now six years into that Strategy. In the time since, our cyber security industry has gone from strength to strength. The workforce has grown by 160 per cent and cyber security exports were worth £1.5 billion to the UK last year alone. I’m delighted that many of our leading cyber security businesses are here this week too.

UK universities play a critical role at the forefront of research into cyber security. Because while we address the challenges of today we must work to anticipate those of tomorrow. We have awarded fourteen UK Universities the status of Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research, reflecting world class research.

Last year, we refreshed the Strategy. The refresh had at its heart one inescapable fact we had learned: that successful cyber defence requires the collaboration of government, academia, and business. A strong cyber ecosystem needs all three.

Based on that insight, we put together and opened our new National Cyber Security Centre as the authoritative voice on cyber in the UK. As we designed it, we looked around the world to see best practice, including at your CSA here.

The NCSC is formally part of GCHQ, but culturally reaches outside the secure fence to draw on academia, and work with and inform businesses, citizens and the public sector about emerging threats, to provide very practical support when attacks happen, talk to the public, work with international partners, and educate our nation on how best to stay safe online. Crucially, it brings together national leadership on cyber security in one place.

Our safety, of course, means our friends’ and partners’ safety, whenever you do business with us. We are committed to making the UK the most secure place in the world for digital and online activity. Respected, and most importantly, trusted.

So this is how we are adapting to the constantly changing risks.

Our third principle, is always to look to the future.

For we much cite cyber security within a bigger attitude we take to how digital technology is transforming society’s norms.

Digital technology is a force for good in the world. To keep it that way, we are proposing a new framework, a new global consensus, for how we interact, do business and participate online.

The aim is to protect and promote freedom online, by ensuring that we promote liberal values that underpin freedom while preventing harm online. Our starting point is that the boundaries and norms that exist off-line also apply in the online world.

This approach lies at the heart of our proposed Digital Charter, recently announced by Her Majesty the Queen. The Charter seeks to balance freedom and responsibility online while establishing a new framework for how we all conduct our digital business.

Every society is facing the same sorts of challenges. And by the nature of the technology many of the solutions are global too. Local nuances will depend on each country’s culture, but ultimately this balance is needed everywhere.

So our hope, if we get all this right, other countries will want to join us.

Humanity, the world over, we share this technology. Together we have developed it, and together people worldwide now collaborate to develop it further.

We are all connected by it, and harmony will lie in – perhaps even depend upon – a shared sense of its norms. The debate is moving quickly, as the pace of technology increases. As more and more of how we interact – our society, in short – moves online we must be sure it abides by the rules of decency, fair play, and mutual respect we have all built in the offline world.

Cyber security sits in this context.

So let us be clear. We are part of something much bigger than ourselves. We have a job to do.

So let us keep talking, let us keep sharing, so we reach a mutual understanding of how we can best harness this amazing new technology, for the benefit of all mankind.

Matt Hancock – 2016 Speech at Royal Television Society Conference

Matt Hancock
Matt Hancock

Below is the text of the speech made by Matt Hancock, the Minister of State for Digital and Culture, on 27 September 2016.

It is a pleasure to speak at this Royal Television Society conference – and to take up the post as Minister responsible for our most vital, cherished and thriving sector.

I’ve always thought that there is a risk that because people so enjoy what you make, they might take for granted the craft – the sheer industry – behind it. When you entertain, when people are laughing, or crying cathartic tears, or cheering on a favourite contestant, they don’t always care to be reminded that for some people – for you – this is work. Complex, demanding work.

I do not take your work for granted. And in Government we know that you’re exceptionally good at what you do.

Throughout its history, TV has been one of the UK’s greatest success stories. In recent years it has grown at twice the rate of the rest of our economy, and annually generates over £13 billion in revenue. Of that, the growing independent production sector now contributes £3 billion a year.

More than just the economic statistics, your work really matters. You are one of the UK’s best shop windows, introducing the world to our culture, telling them who we are as a nation. That we are hugely creative, inquisitive, innovative, silly when we want to be, daring. The export market for finished programmes, international commissions and format sales has more than doubled in size over the past decade to over a billion today.

You and your programmes are among our most powerful cultural ambassadors. Kids in South Korea queue to meet Peter Capaldi. Crowds in New York scream for Benedict Cumberbatch. And all over the world people make their arms into an X and tell Simon Cowell “No one wants this more than me.” That is soft power in action. And it is great for the UK.

But of course this is also a time of great change. Digital technology is revolutionising viewing habits. And it is primarily these challenges – and these opportunities – I want to talk about today.

Traditional TV viewing, in front of the set, now accounts for only around two thirds of the nation’s viewing time. It’s perhaps ironic that as we watch the families on Gogglebox face a traditional screen many of us will do so on phones, laptops or tablets.

And what we watch is changing. 72% of us now regularly watch short-form videos, on YouTube and elsewhere. James Corden’s car-pool karaoke, that Calvin Harris video featuring Rihanna, Hillary Clinton’s latest spot ad, even back-copies of PMQs – everyone’s taste is catered for, mine included.

And if we want more conventional length programmes we won’t necessarily turn to the conventional channels. Netflix now reaches 4.4 million households in the UK, and Amazon Prime over a million.

These figures may sound unsettling – disruptive to the way you’ve always worked.

But let’s bear in mind too that some of our greatest, most creative TV shows were made when the medium was relatively young. Series like Monty Python or the plays of Dennis Potter were able to experiment so freely, so successfully, because no one was yet clear what the rules were. Some of those brilliant, innovative shows, like Doctor Who and Coronation Street, are still with us today so it’s easy to forget just how radical they once were.

The exciting thing about now is: the toys are new again. The rules are being rewritten. This can and should be another Golden Age of creativity.

And the Government will support you in making it so.

I’ve set out three core priorities for all the creative industries, and they are no less important in TV than the others.

The first is backing success.

In all we do, we want to back success where we find it; to build on and strengthen Britain’s creativity.

So we have introduced new TV tax breaks. And they are working. In the first full year of the TV tax credit, nearly £400 million was invested in high-end television programmes, a further £52 million in animation, and £35 million in video games.

Amid this constant change, Public Service Broadcasting remains hugely valued in most viewers’ lives. In a typical week, figures show 84% of us will watch Public Service television. And the vast majority – 73% of viewers, according to a recent poll – believe it is doing a fine job.

Following one of the largest ever consultation exercises in the UK, the new draft BBC Charter establishes the Corporation’s funding, its governance, its mission and purpose, its scale and its scope for the next 11 years, beyond the life of this Parliament and the next.

The new draft Charter secures the BBC’s independence by taking the next Charter review out of the electoral cycle and by creating a BBC Board that has fair and transparent appointments and the majority of whose members are appointed by the BBC itself.

And by enhancing its distinctiveness, accountability, transparency and efficiency it will make sure the BBC continues to thrive. New powers for Ofcom and the NAO, new requirements on competitive tendering, partnership and market impact, and new transparency duties on pay and genre spend are all important elements of the draft Charter reform package. And of course the BBC will enjoy an inflation-linked increase to the licence fee for the next 5 years.

The Charter also firmly embeds the BBC’s historic duty to be impartial. For liberal democracy to flourish, serious debate needs to be anchored in fact. And with a proliferation of media voices the role for our trusted Public Service Broadcasters here is ever more critical.

Of course public service broadcasting is only part of the mix. The UK has a vibrant multichannel sector delivering over 500 channels via free and pay platforms.

Over half of spend on content is now from these alternative sources. And, counting investment in Film and Sport, the UK multichannel sector spent over £3 billion on content in 2015. On original UK content multichannels are investing £800 million.

These channels – and their location in the UK – bring significant benefits to our economy, including over 12,000 jobs and around £4bn of annual gross value added.

The prestige of the UK as the number one broadcasting hub in Europe is something that I’m enormously proud of and which brings very significant benefits to the UK creative sector. I know many of you worry about the impact of Brexit.

The EU referendum highlighted the need to bring this country together, and that can only be achieved by reaching out to – by directly addressing – all its constituent parts. You and your industry have that power.

And your role in defining how we see ourselves as a nation – and how we are seen around the world – is more important than perhaps any other sector’s. Throughout her history Britain has succeeded best when we’ve been open, positive, engaged, and looking outwards, towards the whole world. You can help define Britain’s place in the world today, and bring the people of Britain along with us.

On the specifics, we absolutely get the importance of: the Country of Origin principle; continuation of UK content’s designation as European work; access to skilled labour; to funding and to the central importance of the broadcasting industry.

And we are working on those things as we prepare to negotiate Britain’s exit.

We want to celebrate and strengthen our pre-eminent role in broadcasting as we move forward. UK success is here to stay. You can take it from me that UK success is here to stay.

That brings me to my second principle: expanding access.

It is a central objective of this Government that everyone, from every background, should have equal chance to succeed, equal chance to access arts and culture. In TV, you are already bringing culture – high-brow, middle-brow, resolutely low-brow, it really doesn’t matter – into homes up and down the land.

And you do it every day of the year.

But just as your audience is wide and diverse, so should your industry be. While there is already a push for greater diversity on-screen, and we will continue to support that, it must be matched by a similar drive behind the scenes.

Among writers, directors, commissioners – executives. Ideally, this room would echo to a range of accents, from all parts of the country, from every ethnicity, from every class and gender. Does it yet? I challenge you. The BBC move to Salford has been a triumph, and it is one that I would like to see other broadcasters follow in terms of spreading people, production and investment beyond London.

On diversity and social media there is already much good practice.

I was delighted to launch Diamond in August and sure it will go from strength to strength

The BBC is on track to meet their 2017 goal of over 14 per cent BAME representation on and off screen.

ITV have achieved 14 per cent on-screen BAME representation across all channels.

85 per cent of Channel 4’s commissions now meet their guidelines on diversity.

And Sky has achieved its aim of 20 per cent on screen and writing talent from BAME backgrounds

New technology and distribution is making it easier to break through. But does commissioning reflect the diversity of our modern nation? On gender, disability, sexual identity, and ethnicity, yes, you are beginning to make strides. But what of social and geographic diversity?

I ask you, and I hold you to a higher standard, because a popular, demotic industry like yours, with such a wide and diverse audience, should be leading the way.

So reflect the country you serve. Thrive on Britain’s diversity. Look to opportunities beyond the nearest horizon.

Show by example that people from any walk of life can get ahead if they’ve got talent.

My third priority is to drive the opportunities of digital syntheses.

There is a very good reason I’m the Minister for Digital and Culture. The synergy between art and technology has never been more important. This link: between our creative and cultural assets, and the digital platforms and technology that deliver it, is, in my profound belief, how Britain will pay her way in the twenty first century

This sector is perhaps the best example of what I’m talking about: the pipes and wires of digital delivery meet the beauty and creative genius of the TV sector. Convergence has delivered exciting, disruptive new business models and programme formats like the challenge of multi platform media.

I’m very clear on our job.

If a Wikipedia page is slightly slow to load, it probably won’t greatly try the patience. If a programme we’re engrossed in begins to buffer it can feel like the end of the world. And all the tension you’ve carefully crafted – the gags you’ve expertly timed – are ruined.

So I’m absolutely determined the UK’s digital infrastructure must-be world-leading. We have substantially invested in our digital communications infrastructure – both for mobile and fixed connectivity – with three quarters of a billion pounds from central government. We are rolling out superfast broadband across as many homes and businesses as possible. We have already achieved 90% coverage. We are on track to reach 95% by the end of next year, and we are pushing fibre too.

It will get easier and quicker, year on year, for people to access the brilliant shows you make.

And digital needs content. That nexus between technology and culture is our future economy’s sweet spot, and it is at that nexus that your industry has always lived, and where it must continue to thrive.

Yes there are challenges but there are huge opportunities to reach more people, to open more minds, embrace new technology to educate, excite and entertain like never before. That is a passion we share and in doing so I will be at your side.