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01 March 2017

Government must engage with small business on digital strategy

Issue Date: Wednesday 1 March 2017

Today Culture Secretary Karen Bradley launched the Governments Digital Strategy, which includes a focus on skills and infrastructure to support the digital economy. Mike Cherry, National Chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses, said:

“As the Government takes forward its digital plan announced today, it should now focus on the small business community, who will be key to driving digital transformation and productivity.

“The ‘digital gap’ for small businesses hinders productivity and growth. For the UK to be the best place in the world to do business, we need fit for purpose digital infrastructure and help for small businesses to develop their businesses online.70 per cent of small businesses report that their mobile phone is critical to their business, so while delivering 5G is important, too many FSB members tell us that basic mobile coverage is lacking. Action is needed to tackle these ‘not-spots’ and to achieve the Government’s promised broadband Universal Service Obligation for all businesses across the country. FSB will play its part, as part of a business-led ‘Do It Digital’ campaign to get more small businesses confident when operating online, and we will shortly roll out basic cyber insurance for all our members.

"The commitment within the Digital Strategy to boost digital skills and confidence to go online is vital, with two in five small businesses believing digital skills are crucial to their future growth. Tackling the skills gap across all of those in the workforce needs to begin early, and we welcome the pledge to teach new skills such as coding, to more young people.  This however cannot be a one-off; free basic digital skills training throughout everyone’s working lives will be just as important for UK business to remain competitive in the global economy.”