The taskforce will look for ways to ease the flow of data around the EU

Data taskforce looks for �42bn of economic growth

A joint task force set up by Britain and France to improve the use of data by businesses could unlock £42bn of economic growth across the EU, says Chancellor George Osborne.

The deal is designed to enhance cooperation between the two countries and the group will focus on finding ways to boost data access for small and medium-sized enterprises that make up over 99 per cent of UK and French private sector businesses.

This will include making government data more accessible, establishing a set of principles to improve small and medium sized businesses' use of data to help them compete with bigger players, and making it easier for data to be moved around by creating safe and fair frameworks that allow data to be shared internationally.

Speaking from the launch in Paris, Mr Osborne said: "I am delighted to announce the creation of a new joint UK-France task force to lead the way in unlocking the significant economic benefits offered by the digital economy. In the UK, our digital industries contribute over £113bn to the economy and this task force will consider ways to accelerate growth in this flourishing sector."

The Treasury said data-driven innovations were a major source of economic growth around the world, with Britain and France already at the forefront of the sector.

The deal is expected to boost prospects of creating a single market in the digital sector across the European Union. The task force will report back to both governments by the end of the year.

French economy minister Emmanuel Macron said: "France and the UK are at the forefront of the digital economy. We need to join forces to unleash its potential by setting up a fair and balanced framework which benefits innovators, companies and consumers."

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