Issue-by-issue: parties' tech policies compared

Issue-by-issue: parties' tech policies compared

Summary: Tech election 2010: having spoken to a range of political parties, ZDNet UK lines up their tech policies on the key issues for a side-by-side view

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TOPICS: Government UK
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  • TECH ELECTION 2010

    PROMOTING AND STRENGTHENING THE UK TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY

    Labour: sees web science, particularly the semantic web, as an area where the UK can be a world leader.

    Conservatives: see super-fast broadband as the driver for a stronger tech industry.

    Liberal Democrats: want to see improved education in the subjects of science, technology, engineering and maths; propose Local Enterprise Funds to provide seed capital for start-ups.

    Green Party: wants to boost the renewable energy industry; wants to see an increase in the UK's high-tech manufacturing base as a way to reduce the country's dependence on the financial services industry.

    Pirate Party UK: sees the abolition of software patents as a way of spurring rapid change in the development industry; sees "overly-broad" hardware patents as disincentives to effective competition.

    UKIP: did not answer this question.

    BNP: wants to set up technology universities so as to make the UK less reliant on "importing foreigners" for IT work.

    SNP: wants a tax break for the computer games industry.

    Plaid Cymru: has a laptops-for-kids policy to ensure IT literacy; wants sustainable jobs associated with new technologies.

    Photo credit: Tom Espiner/ZDNet UK

  • TECH ELECTION 2010

    LONG-TERM DIGITAL ECONOMY STRATEGY

    Labour: wants super-fast broadband across the country, with a rural roll-out ensured by a 50p levy on landlines.

    Conservatives: want to complement a market-funded rollout of super-fast broadband with money from BBC licence fee; are keen on using ducts and other utilities infrastructure for fibre; want to change business rates for fibre to encourage new entrants.

    Liberal Democrats: support Labour's 50p levy, but with conditions; want remote and rural areas targeted before urban areas; would promote public libraries as part of digital inclusion drive.

    Green Party: would force BT to provide high-speed broadband to entire country; want local community banks to fund small businesses who want to set up online presence.

    Pirate Party UK: wants people to only have to pay for the broadband speed they receive; wants to enforce net neutrality to allow internet start-ups to compete; wants to make ICT learning in schools less program-specific and more security-focused.

    UKIP: opposes state funding for universal high-speed broadband access; opposes the 50p levy; wants local communities rather than central government to pay for a super-fast broadband roll-out where the market fails.

    BNP: wants the UK telecoms infrastructure nationalised; supports the universal service obligation for broadband.

    SNP: is reforming Scottish education to ensure up-to-date skills are taught.

    Plaid Cymru: wants super-fast broadband for Wales; wants compulsory network sharing between mobile phone and broadband operators.

  • TECH ELECTION 2010

    TECHNOLOGY'S ROLE IN GOVERNMENT TRANSPARENCY AND PUBLIC INTERACTION

    Labour: wants to make a vast amount of public data available in a form that can be easily interrogated; wants to put public services online with a view to eventually withdrawing offline access to some services.

    Conservatives: want to put all major government spending details online; want to create a new "right to government data".

    Liberal Democrats: want to make it easier for people to access public services online.

    Green Party: says the internet has a major part to play in making information more accessible.

    Pirate Party UK: wants all government data made public; would support right of whistleblowers and other critics of government policy to voice concerns online.

    UKIP: wants to use technology to let citizens engage in the democratic process; proposes national and local referenda building on the Number 10 e-petitions model.

    BNP: would give citizens the right to challenge personal data held by the state and private agencies such as credit bureaus.

    SNP: says Scottish government has led the way on transparency through technology; acknowledges that personal interaction is preferable to online services for some citizens.

    Plaid Cymru: points out that the Welsh National Assembly already has computers to let members talk to constituents during debates.

    Photo credit: BISgovUK

Topic: Government UK

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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