New digital minister Matt Hancock faces calls for digital strategy in wake of Brexit vote

Written by Colin Mair and Jenni Davidson on 18 July 2016 in News

MP Matt Hancock faces calls to clarify the implications of Brexit on the digital economy in his new digital policy role

Image: Matt Hancock at PACAC

Matt Hancock has been asked to clarify the implications of Brexit on the digital economy in his new position as minister of state with responsibility for digital policy at the UK Government Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

He was appointed to the new role on Friday, succeeding Ed Vaizey, who had held the post for two years and now moves to the backbenches.

Hancock has overseen government digital transformation, public sector reform and cybersecurity in his previous position as minister for the Cabinet Office, which he was appointed to in May last year.

He has been replaced in that role by Conservative MP for Ipswich Ben Gummer.


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Following his appointment, the Suffolk West MP tweeted: “Delighted to be minister of state for Digital & Culture. Energised to take up the challenge to make UK tech & cultural centre of the world.”

Hancock has immediately faced calls for the publication of the government’s digital strategy – which is currently six months overdue.

A report by the UK Parliament Business, Innovation and Skills Committee said that the UK Government must use the strategy to set out the implications on the digital economy of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

“The report raises a number of areas of concern, including the impact on UK tech firms employing digitally-skilled EU migrants, the immigration status of such workers and access to the European single digital market for British-based companies,” it said.

The committee added that ministers should urgently address fears that the UK’s position as a world leader in fintech – financial services technology – is at risk because firms based in Britain may look to relocate to another country to remain inside the EU.

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