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Labour manifesto: Tech Bacc, not-spot zapping and hi-speed interwebs

First major party releases list of pre-election promises

Sir Humphrey: I say, do they really mean any of this?

Election 2015 Labour was the first major party to kick off the round of pre-election pledges this week, releasing its 2015 General Election manifesto. Amid the usual list of vague-sounding promises were a number of familiar platitudes about plans to "build on our strengths as a leader in digital technology".

"Labour will ensure that all parts of the country benefit from affordable, high speed broadband by the end of the Parliament," it vowed.

The party promised to work with the industry and the regulator to "maximise private sector investment" and "deliver the mobile infrastructure needed to extend coverage and reduce ‘not spots’, including in areas of market failure."

Alluding to the on-going debate around surveillance it said: "We will need to update our investigative laws to keep up with changing technology, strengthening both the powers available, and the safeguards that protect people’s privacy."

It added: "We will strengthen the oversight of our intelligence agencies to make sure the public can continue to have confidence in the vital work that they do to keep us safe."

Labour also wants to use digital technology to reform our public services. "We will use digital technology to create a more responsive, devolved, and less costly system of government," it said.

On the subject of education it committed to introduce a vocational "Technical Baccalaureate" award for 16 to 18-year-olds. It also wants to develop a number of university "high-tech clusters" outside the South East.

"Scientific discovery and technological innovation will drive economic advancement this century," it said. "We will introduce a new long-term funding policy framework for science and innovation, providing the stability and continuity that our companies and research institutes need to succeed." ®

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