The UK can create and retain 700,000 jobs with policies to spur ambitious and immediate investment in its digital networks, finds a study published today.
An additional £15 billion invested in broadband networks, intelligent transport systems and a smart power grid would not only create jobs, more than half in small businesses, but also boost UK productivity, concludes The UK’s Digital Road to Recovery – an independent study produced by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and Information Technology and Innovation Fund (ITIF) and made possible by support from IBM.
The investment would also improve general quality of life and the environment, for example by reducing traffic congestion and reducing household energy bills.
The report finds that investment in information and communication technology (ICT) would be even more effective at stimulating the economy than spending on roads, bridges and other forms of physical infrastructure.
This is partly because many types of digital infrastructure create additional jobs outside their immediate sector by giving rise to new kinds of consumer and business activity and enabling new technologies – an effect known as the ‘network multiplier’.
The report recommends that the Government should lead the investment of extra money through a mixture of direct spending, tax incentives and regulatory changes that spur increased private sector investment in these key parts of the digital infrastructure.
While the report does not advocate a specific level of investment it models the benefits of £15 billion spent across the three areas:
While the report’s authors applaud the Government’s support for innovation and green technology in last week’s Budget, they believe it should go further and faster.
Jonathan Liebenau, Reader in Technology Management at LSE, said: ‘Our report shows that in this severe economic climate the right investment in ICT infrastructure would have a significant effect in creating jobs now and in stimulating productivity and innovation for the future.’
Robert Atkinson, President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, said: ‘Nations that invest in ICT to transform fields like transportation and energy reap substantial long-term economic and social benefits. This report shows that these investments also have a short-term impact by producing the jobs and economic growth the UK needs to get out of the current recession.’
The UK’s Digital Road to Recovery will be officially launched at LSE at 3:30pm on Wednesday 29 April. Its authors are Robert Atkinson, Daniel Castro and Stephen Ezell of ITIF and Patrik Karrberg and Jonathan Liebenau of LSE.
The report’s authors are available for interview:
Robert Atkinson (ITIF) 00 1 202 626 5732 or 00 1 202 302 0355
Patrik Karrberg (LSE) 07896 317814
Or contact LSE Press Office on 020 7955 7440 for more information or to attend the launch.
Through its research, policies proposals, and commentary, The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation is working to advance and support public policies that boost innovation, e-transformation and productivity. For additional information, Web users may access ITIF at http://www.innovationpolicy.org or by contacting Dr. Atkinson at (202) 626-5732 or firstname.lastname@example.org