London (6)

Three of the most influential organisations in London’s tech space have called on the next Mayor of London to maintain London’s position as the digital capital of Europe and make the capital a truly digital city for businesses and citizens.

Tech London Advocates, techUK and Centre for London issued their ‘Mayoral Tech Manifesto 2016’ in what it calls a “comprehensive vision for London’s digital future”.

It is the first Manifesto to be produced ahead of the London Mayoral election with a specific focus on technology.

The Manifesto offers 13 ambitious policy recommendations across five areas: future-proofing London, infrastructure, investment and funding, skills, immigration and funding and digital London government. 

Key recommendations include: 
– Hire a London Chief Digital Officer to collect, share and analyse data for improved public and private services
– Take the London message global through trade missions that champion every sector of London’s digital economy
– Conduct a comprehensive London-wide Innovation Audit to assess the effects of regulation on new digital services
– Establish a tech talent pipeline to work with educators and entrepreneurs to equip Londoners with the digital skills needed to survive and thrive
– Be bold on visas for tech professionals by protecting the Tier 2 visa and reinstating the Post-Study Work visa
A survey conducted by the organisations found that showcasing London tech internationally and investing more significantly in the talent pipeline should be the priorities for the next Mayor of London.
The research highlighted a shortage of talent as the single biggest obstacle facing the city’s technology industry (43%), with software developers the most in-demand profession in the capital (44%).
Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates, said: “The next Mayor of London will take office in the unrivalled digital capital of Europe. The technology sector represents the best of London business – driving innovation, job creation and economic growth across the capital. Over the past five years, the technology industry has become a community it is impossible for City Hall to ignore. Our Mayoral Tech Manifesto brings together the voice of the technology community and policy experts to articulate the challenges faced by the industry and what is required from the next Mayor of London to support this dynamic industry.” 
Charlotte Holloway, associate director at techUK, said: “London’s fast-changing tech scene is looking for a Mayor with pro-innovation reflexes, who also understands how the latest in digital can benefit all Londoners. We need a forward-looking City Hall that leads by example, from championing  Digital Government to opening up the City’s data to sticking up for London on the need for skilled migration. ”
Ben Rogers, director of Centre for London, added: “The responsibility of the next Mayor of London is to make ensure that London gets the best of the digital revolution. This is not about a set of policies for one sector, but a set of policies that will benefit London as a whole.”
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