King’s Speech: Data reforms on track but no skills action

big-ben-parliamentThe DMA is redoubling its efforts to get Parliament to pass the data protection reforms, calling on MPs to rubberstamp the Data Protection & Digital Information Bill (No 2) “without hesitation” after it was unveiled in today’s King’s Speech – easing fears that it could be kicked into the long grass.

However, others have criticised the absence of any measures to tackle the ongoing skills crisis which is blighting businesses across the land.

The Bill is currently at the report stage but the date for the all-important Third Reading in Parliament has not been set. If and when this is completed the Bill will pass to the Lords. Once both Houses of Parliament are agreed, the Bill receives Royal Assent and becomes law.

According to the DMA, the Bill is due to conclude its journey in the Commons this month, and the legislation will be key to delivering this growth, especially for the data-driven marketing and digital sectors.

DMA chief executive Chris Combemale said: “Data privacy reforms included within the DPDI Bill are key to unlocking business growth and realising the full potential of the UK digital economy; by further enabling businesses to use customer insights to simultaneously improve the productivity of businesses and create relevance for customers.

“Reforms will create a better balance between innovation and privacy, maintaining GDPR’s high levels of data protection while enabling scientific and technological innovation that will power the future economy. There is strong support for these opportunities across the UK’s SME community, as demonstrated by our latest research, so we would urge UK Parliament to complete passage without hesitation.”

However, the National Centre for Universities & Business (NCUB), a membership organisation of UK universities and businesses, maintains the focus on reducing “poor quality university degrees” in the King’s Speech is a concern, given than more than half of businesses in the UK are currently experiencing skills shortages.

NCUB chief executive Dr Joe Marshall commented: “At a time of serious and widespread economic uncertainty, we should be celebrating the fact that our nation’s universities generate the skilled and versatile workforce that businesses require, contributing to the nation’s recovery in the post-pandemic era. Having a degree is typically associated with higher wages, increasing opportunity and driving productivity.”

Marshall continued: “More worrying still is that the type of course selected for a cap is more likely to be one with a high proportion of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. This punishes universities that push boundaries to widen social mobility.”

“We do, however, recognise and commend today’s focus on increasing the number of young people undertaking high quality apprenticeships. Diversifying pathways into education is vital if we are to meet future skills needs and the need for action to address our chronic skills crisis in the short and medium term remains.

“We are calling on the Government to create a dedicated body responsible for gathering labour market insights to inform future policymaking. This body should play a crucial role in enhancing the understanding of labour market needs for businesses, universities, and the Government alike.”

Related stories
Govt urged to pass data reforms ‘for the sake of SMEs’
Data reforms on a knife edge over Parliamentary delays
Call for Govt action to build workforce fit for the future
Rise of new tech threatens to open up fresh skills gap
How Skills Bootcamps can cure imposter syndrome
Firms urged to train existing staff to tackle skills crisis
Data reforms under fresh fire for favouring big business
Decision Marketing Data Clinic: Data reforms explained
Govt urged to beef up data bill to fight ‘horrific’ adtech
Privacy organisations fume at ‘weakened data laws’

Print Friendly