Fighting for our digital future

Sheffield Heeley MP Louise Haigh
Sheffield Heeley MP Louise Haigh
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In politics ‘reshuffles’ are a relatively common occurrence and can wind up with you out of a job or being moved over to a new one.

So I was relieved to hear the news that I’d been appointed as Shadow Minister for the Digital Economy earlier this month.

Before I entered parliament I worked for a digital start-up and I know how vital this part of the economy is.

Digital is having an impact in some unexpected places.

It is transforming the way we consume, interact with each other and the world. It is providing new types of work, products and markets.

We must harness the opportunities it provides for Sheffield.

We already have impressive digital companies and start-ups in the city, a thriving video games industry and the potential to develop this by producing the skilled workforce, companies, apps and ideas.

We need the right policies, legislation, support and protections in place to make this work for our city.

But what I have seen from the Government in the new laws they are currently trying to get through Parliament is disappointing.

For instance on broadband, they are setting the bare minimum target of 10 megabits per second – nowhere near superfast.

This is simply not ambitious enough.

People in Sheffield have contacted me, furious at the poor state of broadband and they are completely right.

We need superfast here in Sheffield for our businesses to grow, not be forced to make do with the bare minimum.

The Government also promised a Digital Strategy over a year ago, which has yet to materialise.

I want to see a Digital Future Bill, not this meagre settlement.

That would include:

n Free WiFi in public spaces and on public transport

n Helping people build up their digital skills in the community so they aren’t locked out of the digital world

n Workers’ rights for people in the Digital Economy

I will champion and work with our digital industry to help Sheffield take full advantage of this sector.