The digital industry is growing six times faster than the UK economy as a whole and contributed £149bn to the UK in 2018, equivalent of more than £400 million a day.
So says a new Government report from the Department of Digital, Media, Culture & Sport, which shows the digital sector now accounts for 7.7% of the UK economy, up 7.9% on the previous year.
Quite why it has taken the Government so long to compile the figures – which are still only estimates – is not known but they do show a sudden uplift in recent years. Up until the mid 2010s, the sector had been growing in line with the wider rate of UK economy growth but the figures show in 2015 the digital sector’s growth started to outstrip the economy as a whole and has continued on an upward trajectory ever since.
The figures take into account the contributions of digital businesses up and down the country across a range of specialisms. In line with its strategy of bigging up the North, Newcastle-based software provider Sage gets a special mention, having “started small but now has more than 13,000 staff”.
Even Wales is praised too, with Newport-based electronic manufacturer IQE, hailed as a “global leader in the design and manufacture of products for computer chips tipped to power everything from electric cars to 5G”.
In total, the DCMS sectors (excluding tourism) contributed £224.1bn to the UK in 2018, accounting for 11.7% of the economy as a whole.
Among this, the creative industries contributed £111.7bn, up 7.4% from 2017; the cultural sector contributed £32.3bn, up 2.7% and sport contributed £16bn, up 2%.
Digital Minister Matt Warman said: “Technology is a sweet spot of our economy, bringing jobs and wealth across the country. The success is thanks to our business friendly environment and fantastic workforce. We are working hard to continue this momentum by strengthening regional tech clusters supporting digital businesses and investing in people’s digital skills.”
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