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Economy Economy

Make doing business online easier for companies and consumers

Last updated: 09:36am 12 November 2019

We will make doing business online easier for companies and consumers.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.78

Our verdict

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that in 2017, 82% of business with 10 or more employees had a website, and e-commerce accounted for £560 billion in sales – which saw the largest year-on-year increase as a sector since 2011. At the same time, 89% of adults reported recently using the internet. In the context of a vibrant digital economy, this policy is a promise to make doing business online easier for companies and consumers.

In 2018 the government published the Digital Charter, setting out a plan to implement a comprehensive framework aimed at unlocking digital potential. From the perspective of businesses, this includes developing a National Data Strategy, investing £1.9 billion in cybersecurity and analysing changes to the current competition framework. From the consumer’s perspective, the government is making online spaces safer and more accessible. This includes the Data Protection Act, passed in December 2018, implementing recommendations from the Online Harms White Paper and the Social Media Code of Practice, both published in April 2019. Moreover, the Universal Service Obligation, passed in April 2017 and currently under implementation, aims to improve internet access for citizens in general.

The government is developing a National Data Strategy and considering changes to the current competition framework to unlock the potential of digital businesses, while encouraging consumer access by providing faster broadband and safer websites. This policy is ‘in progress’.

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