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UK digital minister asks for input on strategy, lauds 'sharing economy' biz success

Ed Vaizey: 'We're all out of ideas, so do you have any?'

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The Minister for Culture, Media and Sport* Ed Vaizey today opened a consultation seeking ideas for gov.uk's next digital strategy over the next five years.

Vaizey said that over the previous five years "digital fever exploded from the cluster in east London, and has spread to every part of the country, making the UK truly a ‘Tech Nation’."

He said the government is now looking at a new Digital Strategy for the UK for the next five years and seeking input from the public and industry to make the UK "synonymous with digital."

"I want the UK to be the default place entrepreneurs want to start new digital business over any other tech hub in the world from Silicon Valley to Shanghai, scaling up to be global brands," he said. Vaizey singled out Fintech and "sharing economy" businesses as areas of success.

He said the government is looking at a number of areas it hopes to "nurture" over the next five years. These include: using online courses for schools; a more "joined up" digital NHS; putting the UK at the forefront of developments in drones and driverless cars.

He added the government also wants to create a Digital Single Market in Europe.

Greater digitisation of the government is also a key priority, he said. "Renewing your passport should be as easy as buying a book online, so what more can we do to make sure interacting with government is as simple and seamless as possible?"

In November the Government Digital Service was handed £450m in funding for the next five years. Its digital strategy is expected to be released next month.

Cabinet Office minister Matthew Hancock said: "The potential for transformation driven by digital is vast, and we are reforming public services to take advantage of state-of-the-art technologies, not just now but including innovations to come."

All ideas on a postcard to the Ministry of Fun by 19 January. ®

* aka the "Fun" department, for readers new to The Register

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