MP for Norwich Calls for Improved Connectivity
‘Digital Advancements Improve Connectivity’: MP for Norwich Backs the Queen’s Speech
With part of the Queen’s speech this year including two digital economy bills, our lives move in a more digital direction every day. The government called for measures to be brought to create the right for every household to access high speed broadband and a look towards improving Britain’s competitiveness to strive towards the United Kingdom becoming a world leader for the digital economy. Local authorities now look to see how these bills will progress, and what steps can be taken on a local level to assure they are met.
Norwich employs over 14,000 people alone in the technology sector. Norwich North MP Chloe Smith proudly supports this rapidly advancing industry: ‘We in Norwich are already a growing hub for the digital economy, and as the MP for Norwich I’ve regularly spoken up in Parliament and with a range of organisations in support of the needs of our digital technology sector here in East Anglia.’
Norwich is officially a ‘Tech City’. The Tech City initiative was launched to capitalise on the economic growth potential in other regions outside of London, also helping companies overcome potential obstacles, advancing support from Local Enterprise Partnerships and local authorities. Norwich has benefited from the scheme, with one of the fastest growing technology clusters outside of London. This is reflected, not only in terms of employment figures, but also the investment that is being put into the region. Over £3 million pounds is being poured into creative digital industries, which includes £1.5 million for the Digital Centre for Innovation at Norwich University of Arts.
This kind of investment is key to Norwich’s future in the technology industry; as an ever advancing sector, funding will always be necessary in order to remain competitive. To continue gaining investment, Chloe Smith believes, ’we need a better infrastructure, sensible legislation, a look at cybercrime, and investment skills.’ Furthermore, our MP for Norwich North welcomed Digital Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe to Norwich for a tech round-table, hosted by Proxama at Whitespace. ‘This provided an ideal opportunity to update the Government on the latest developments, talent and excellence in East Anglia’s tech community, but also to discuss what more needs to done to overcome the challenges our region will face’, adds Chloe.
Other schemes that have been introduced include the launch of Tech East earlier this year. The initiative incorporates the region’s business leaders that form a new grouping with the ambition to help solve East Anglia’s digital shortage. For the East to attract those most technically talented, the region’s digital sector needs continual promotion. Chloe Smith believes engaging future generations into this sector could help with the shortage: ‘We need to encourage young people across East Anglia to use their skills, imagination and initiative to get in on this exciting industry. Sync the City, the three day marathon of start-up building held annually in Norwich, is a fantastic example of just what can be achieved.’
When looking at a map of the social mobility hotspots and coldspots in the UK, those most connected perform stronger. Our region has always been one of those most in need for further connectivity. Digital advancements can support improved connection. ‘Connectivity will provide an overall boost to our economy, bringing more jobs and investment to our city. Research by the Social Mobility Commission has also demonstrated a correlation between connectivity and life chances’, explains Chloe.
Chloe herself values the engagement of digital technology. Like many MP’s, she has a website, social media and presence, as well as a regular e-newsletter. ‘I think it’s important to keep constituents updated on what I am doing in Parliament to represent Norwich and its residents’, adds Chloe. As our social digital presence becomes ever more important to our personal lives, as well as from a business perspective, Norwich must continue to press ahead with technological progression in order for our region to improve, not only its internal connection, but its connectivity on a larger scale, answering the government’s call for the UK to become a global leader for our digital economy.
Constituents can sign up to receive regular news reports at chloesmith.org.uk/newsletter.