3aIT Blog

The Houses of ParliamentJust in case you hadn't heard, there's an election just round the corner! As is now tradition, we have scoured the manifestos of the major parties to look for any IT-related commitments. As there's a lot to cover here, let's get straight into it.


  • We are set to achieve at least 85% gigabit coverage of the UK by 2025 and nationwide coverage by 2030. Our ambition is for all populated areas to be covered by ‘standalone’ 5G mobile connectivity and to keep the UK at the forefront of adopting and developing 6G.
  • Continue investing over £1.5 billion in large-scale compute clusters, assembling the raw processing power so we can take advantage of the potential of AI and support research into its safe and responsible use
  • We will urgently consult on introducing further parental controls over access to social media.


  • We will ensure our industrial strategy supports the development of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) sector, removes planning barriers to new datacentres. And we will create a National Data Library to bring together existing research programmes and help deliver data-driven public services, whilst maintaining strong safeguards and ensuring all of the public benefit.
  • Labour will make a renewed push to fulfil the ambition of full gigabit and national 5G coverage by 2030
  • Labour will ensure the safe development and use of AI models by introducing binding regulation on the handful of companies developing the most powerful AI models and by banning the creation of sexually explicit deepfakes.
  • References to digitising elements of the NHS and harnessing the power of AI are scattered through the Health section

Liberal Democrats

  • Will increase the Digital Services Tax on social media firms and other tech giants from 2% to 6%.
  • Will create a clear, workable and well-resourced cross-sectoral regulatory framework for artificial intelligence that promotes innovation while creating certainty for AI users, developers and investor, establishes transparency and accountability for AI systems in the public sector, ensures the use of personal data and AI is unbiased, transparent and accurate, and respects the privacy of innocent people
  • Will negotiate the UK’s participation in the Trade and Technology Council with the US and the EU, so we can play a leading role in global AI regulation, and work with international partners in agreeing common standards for AI risk and impact assessment, testing, monitoring and audit
  • Will replace old, slow computers to free up clinicians’ time to care for patients and require all IT systems used by the NHS to work with each other
  • Will create a new Online Crime Agency to effectively tackle illegal content and activity online, such as personal fraud, revenge porn and threats and incitement to violence on social media
  • Will ensure that gigabit broadband is available to every home and business, including in rural and remote communities, and support local bespoke solutions so that no property is left out


  • Elected Greens will push for a precautionary regulatory approach to the harms and risk of AI. We would align the UK approach with our neighbours in Europe, UNESCO and global efforts to support a coordinated response to future risks of AI.
  • We will also aim to secure equitable access to any socially and environmentally responsible benefits these technologies can bring, at the same time as addressing any bias, discrimination, equality, liberty or privacy issues arising from the use of AI.
  • We would insist on the protection of the Intellectual Property of artists, writers and musicians and other creators. We would ensure that AI does not erode the value of human creativity and that workers’ rights and interests are respected when AI leads to significant changes in working conditions.

We should note here that we have checked the Reform manifesto, and there is no notable IT-specific policies included


A photo of a road with traffic moving too fast to seeAs is often the case, the various manifestos largely unify around a couple of IT related topics - broadband and "future technologies". As per 2019, the references to any IT specific policy or ambitions seem to be thinnest on the ground in the Conservative manifesto.

On broadband, the Conservative pledge in 2019 was that the UK would be 100% full fibre by 2025. In reality what has happened is all of the easy-to-reach areas have been covered in that timeframe, and we're left with the 15% of harder to connect places. Both the Conservatives and Labour are now planning to complete this by 2030. The Liberal Democrats reference this, but don't provide a timeframe.

Given the likelihood that AI will likely become an major part of our lives over the course of the next parliament, it is somewhat surprising to find the Conservative manifesto only really mentions it in passing. Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens all provide a little more detail here. Regardless, whoever is in power come July 5th will likely find the need to legislate on AI will come fairly soon, and they're likely to be playing a constant game of catch up here as the technologies involved improve at a rapid pace.

Many pound coins in a flat neat layer with one positioned vertically on topOne other thing that caught our eye in the policies above is the Liberal Democrat pledge to replace old computers in the NHS. This is topic we've covered more generally in the past in our "Price of no Progress" blog (although the spark for this was prompted by a cyber attack on NHS computers via their ancient technology). The point we made there, which this policy touches on, is that you can throw as much money as you like at the people in an organisation, but if they're being held back by the computers and systems they use every day, you're not going to be getting the most out of them.

Regardless of who wins in July, it is very important that they take the digital world seriously given how much of our working lives it looms over. Recent interviews with government officials regarding things like encryption and AI have highlighted definite lack of knowledge in these areas.  This challenge is not confined to a single political party. It is up to all our lawmakers to understand the systems they're trying to change, and to seek the advice of experts when necessary.