For anyone working in London’s startup community, there can be little doubt that tech is going to be vital to cement the city’s place on the international stage. And with London’s mayoral election looming, it’s absolutely vital to ensure that all candidates are fighting for the best interests of the capital’s tech community. To this end, some of the UK’s most influential tech organisations have produced a new manifesto outlining the things a startup-friendly mayor needs to consider.
Produced by a triumvirate of Tech London Advocates, techUK and Centre for London, the Mayoral Tech Manifesto 2016 aims to guide the next mayor in securing London’s position as the digital capital of Europe. The product of a poll of more than 300 members of the city’s tech community, the manifesto outlines the key areas that will prove most important in boosting the city’s digital prospects: future-proofing London; infrastructure, investment and funding; skills, immigration and funding; and digital government.
Amongst the specific recommendations included in the manifesto are: the hiring of a London chief digital officer who will collate and analyse data improved public and private services; boosting the number of trade missions to champion the many sectors that make up London’s digital economy; the conducting of an ‘innovation audit’ to assess how regulation impacts upon new digital services; the creation of a tech talent pipeline to ensure Londoners are equipped with digital skills; and the protection of the Tier 2 visa and the reinstatement of the Post-Study Work visa.
“The next mayor of London will take office in the unrivalled digital capital of Europe,” said Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates. “The technology sector represents the best of London business – driving innovation, job creation and economic growth across the capital. Our Mayoral Tech Manifesto brings together the voice of the technology community and policy experts to articulate the challenges faced by the industry and what is required from the next Mayor of London to support this dynamic industry.”
Charlotte Holloway, associate director at techUK, added: “London’s fast-changing tech scene is looking for a mayor with pro-innovation reflexes, who also understands how the latest in digital can benefit all Londoners. We need a forward-looking City Hall that leads by example, from championing digital government to opening up the City’s data to sticking up for London on the need for skilled migration.”
The Mayoral Tech Manifesto 2016 has been presented to mayoral candidates from the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green parties, who will be responding to and debating the recommendations at DebateTech on February 9. Those who want to find out which candidate will make the tech-savviest mayor make sure you snap up some tickets before they’re all gone.