Tories ditch new data reforms Bill in election manifesto

toryThe Conservative Party appears to have abandoned reprising the UK’s data protection reforms if it forms the next Government, with not a single mention of new data privacy laws in the party’s general election manifesto.

Late last month, the DMA called on the next administration to make data, technology and AI the foundation for innovation, growth, and improved productivity in the UK economy.

The move followed the failure to include the Data Protection & Digital Information Bill (No2) into the Government’s “wash up” process, which fast-tracks some legislation before Parliament is dissolved. And although many organisations welcomed its demise, the DMA feels it was a missed opportunity.

In its manifesto, all the Conservative Party says is that “securing the UK’s position as a world leader in innovation artificial intelligence will accelerate human progress in the 21st century, just as the steam engine and electricity did in the 19th century”.

It maintains that the UK is “well positioned to spearhead this transformation and is already leading global work on AI safety”.

The manifesto continues: “Over the last 14 years, the Conservatives have turned the UK into a science and innovation superpower. The UK now has the highest level of direct government funding and tax support for business research and development (R&D) of any country in the OECD. We pioneered the fastest development and deployment of the Covid vaccine. The UK has Europe’s leading tech ecosystem.”

It then states that in the next Parliament, it will:

– Increase public spending on R&D to £22bn a year, up from £20bn this year

– Maintain our R&D tax reliefs. Recent changes worth £280m a year have simplified and improved R&D tax reliefs, including by bringing more SMEs into scope of the relief

– Continue investing over £1.5bn in large-scale compute clusters, assembling the raw processing power so we can take advantage of the potential of AI and support research into its safe and responsible use

– Push forward with our Advanced Manufacturing Plan, providing a £4.5bn commitment to secure strategic manufacturing sectors including automotive, aerospace, life sciences and clean energy.

The Labour Party’s 2024 General Election manifesto, which will set out the party’s programme of Government for the next five years, is due to be released tomorrow (June 13).

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