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Next London mayor given 8 policy ideas to keep city’s tech crown – UKTN

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The next mayor of London should prioritise digital skills, increasing the attractiveness of public listings and improving industry diversity to boost the city’s tech sector, a report from a tech advocacy group has recommended.

London is seen as the leading tech hub outside of Silicon Valley. A manifesto published on Tuesday has outlined eight policy recommendations to retain the capital’s global status.

The report, from Tech London Advocates and Olympic Park innovation campus Here East, calls for investment in digital and AI skills to “support the economy of the next decade and beyond”.

It adds that a “more wide-reaching programme” is needed than the current pledge to provide skills training to unemployed or low-income Londoners over the age of 19.

This includes providing courses to help the next generation of workers navigate AI and large language models, such as those powering advanced chatbots like ChatGPT.

The manifesto, titled “Future Frontiers”, was published amid UK Tech Week and comes ahead of the London mayoral election on 2 May.

Labour incumbent Sadiq Khan currently holds a 19-point lead over his Conservative opponent Susan Hall, according to YouGov polling.

The report highlights London’s clean tech and climate tech sector, which secured £2.75bn in startup funding last year – the second-highest globally, according to Dealroom data. The report suggested using educational programmes to inspire young people to enter the industry, along with providing support existing clean air initiatives.

Following a dearth of London IPOs last year, the report calls for the next mayor to “adopt pro-business public market initiatives” that encourage more domestic tech firms to scale and list in the UK.

The tech sector in London and the UK more generally has a long-running diversity problem. Recommendations to improve this include creating more skills bootcamps, recruitment drives to targets underrepresented groups and building more affordable housing to make London jobs more accessible to lower-income communities.

“The eight key recommendations to strengthen London’s vibrant tech ecosystem are a launchpad for the future, ensuring the city retains its place as a world-leading tech hub,” said Russ Shaw CBE, founder of Tech London Advocates & Global Tech Advocates.

“Improvements to diversity of talent in the sector and the need to build ultra-fast fibre networks are not wishful thinking, but basic requirements to fuel the continued growth of London tech.”

Other recommendations include supporting a balanced regulatory landscape, improving the capital’s 5G and ultra-fast fibre networks, harnessing London’s emerging technology capabilities, and increasing London’s connectivity with domestic and international tech hubs.

“By investing in digital talent, creating conditions for growth through regulation, and making the London market a more attractive place to list, our tech sector will see an influx of innovation, all while safeguarding privacy,” said Gavin Poole, CEO of Here East.

“We can solidify our stake by taking this one step further and champion local talent for the sector, giving them a global platform to highlight their innovations, all while demonstrating London as the premier destination for global technology leaders.”

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