UK to become a technology superpower?
Published: 24 Nov 2015
Labour’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has pledged to make Britain a technologically-leading country, describing Jeremy Corbyn's labour government, should it win the next election, as "socialism with an iPad."
McDonnell said the UK should not only be a financial centre of Europe but should also be the leading country when it comes to innovation and technology.
However, there's a long way to go until Britain is in a fit state to lead, with the current government failing to spend on the infrastructure needed to make it a powerful force McDonnell said in a speech ahead of George Osborne’s Spending Review on Wednesday.
He said spending of just 1.6 per cent of the UK's GDP was not enough for sustainable growth, promising to spend at least 3.5 per cent of the country's GDP on infrastructure if Labour is elected in 2020.
To help achieve better innovation in technology, McDonnell told attendees at Imperial College, London on Friday that the process should start with new measures to protect workers in the industry.
He referenced digital game-changing companies such as Airbnb that encourage the public to make the most of assets they own, but at the same time, present a danger to workers because they are casual positions, often not promising ,long-term employment.
Britain needs to change its thinking and become more strategic when it comes to workplace policies and not restrict opportunities for workers.
“We must re-establish a system of worker participation in management, with a supply chain of information between the shop floor and government that brings workers and unions together to advise policymakers on the future direction of the economy," McDonnell said.
"Technological change, and the unfettered free market are tearing up the old work contract. Labour, instead, will offer a new contract for a new workforce. Security of income against uncertainty. The same rights and protections extended to all those at work. This is why the fight over tax credits matters so much," he added.