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General Election 2019: an engineering and tech guide

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With a week to go before Britain goes to the polls, E&T has broken down the engineering and technology-related pledges - from decarbonisation to social media regulation - made by the main parties in contention.

We have included the seven parties which currently have (and are likely to continue to have) MPs, as well as the Brexit Party on account of its significant political influence. Sinn Féin, which has seven absent MPs, is not included as its manifesto does not concern domestic UK policies.

The Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish parties naturally have more limited manifestos, while the Brexit Party has a short ‘contract’ rather than a detailed manifesto. Although not every relevant detail is included in this guide, the amount of information for each party is representative of the detail in their manifestos.

 

Climate change

All the main parties (except the Brexit Party, which does not acknowledge climate change in its policy document) have committed to reaching net-zero carbon emissions between 2030 and 2050. Whichever party or parties form a government, this is likely to involve investments in renewable energy and measures to improve energy efficiency of homes. The Labour Party and Green Party have the most ambitious decarbonisation targets, both proposing a ‘Green New Deal’: an enormous public investment to justly decarbonise the economy, popularised by progressive Democrats in the US.

Conservative Party

  • Aim for Net Zero by 2050 with investment in clean energy and green infrastructure via unspecified deal to support transition in next Parliament. First budget of next Parliament to prioritise environmental issues, including R&D funding for decarbonisation schemes.
  • Aim to reach 40GW in offshore wind by 2030 and enable new floating wind farms.
  • Aim to deliver two million high-quality jobs in clean growth over the next decade.
  • Support gas for hydrogen production and nuclear energy, in addition to renewables.
  • Believes that the North Sea oil and gas industry has “a long future ahead” and is important in transition to Net Zero.
  • Invest £800m in carbon capture and storage by mid-2020s.
  • Will only lift moratorium on fracking if science shows the extraction process can be done safely.
  • Invest £9.2bn in energy efficiency of homes and public buildings.

Labour Party

  • Aim for 90 per cent of electricity needs to be met by renewables and low-carbon sources by 2030 (and half of heat from renewable and low-carbon sources by 2030).
  • Build 7,000 new offshore wind turbines, 2,000 new onshore wind turbines and enough solar panels to cover 22,000 football pitches. Support new nuclear power for energy security. Trial and expand tidal. Bring energy and water industry into public ownership to ensure decarbonisation occurs at appropriate speed. Windfall tax on oil companies to raise £11bn towards decarbonisation.
  • ‘Green New Deal’ and ‘Green Industrial Revolution’ to create one million high-quality jobs in decarbonisation drive, including safeguarding people dependent on offshore oil and gas. Support with a £250bn Green Transformation Fund.
  • Balance grid by expanding power storage, investing in grid enhancements and interconnectors.
  • Delist companies failing to mitigate climate change from the London Stock Exchange.
  • Instruct Committee on Climate Change to assess emissions which the UK imports, as well as those it produces.
  • Permanently ban fracking.
  • Upgrade almost every home to highest energy-efficiency standards, introduce zero-carbon standard for all new homes and use waste heat with technologies such as heat pumps and solar hot water.

Liberal Democrats

  • Aim to meet 80 per cent of energy needs from renewables by 2030 and phase out emissions from hard-to-treat sectors by 2045.
  • Remove current restrictions on solar and wind. End fossil-fuel subsidies by 2025 in line with G7 pledge, with funding for areas affected by transition. Push for end to all fossil-fuel subsidies worldwide and end support for UK Export Finance for fossil-fuel-related activities.
  • Increase government expenditure on climate and environmental objectives, including additional £12bn to support transformation of energy sector. Create Green Investment Bank to support innovation in zero-carbon infrastructure and technologies.
  • Build more interconnectors, expand community and decentralised energy and support councils to develop local electricity generation.
  • Support carbon capture and storage and low-carbon processes, including by providing advice on minimising industrial emissions.
  • Establish Department for Climate Change and Natural Resources and Cabinet-level Chief Secretary for Sustainability in Treasury. Establish Citizens’ Climate Assemblies on UK-wide and local scale.
  • Require all companies listed on UK stock exchanges to set targets consistent with Paris Agreement and allow regulators to intervene if investors are not managing climate risks responsibly. Establish corporate duty of care for environment.
  • Permanently ban fracking.
  • £15bn emergency investment in energy efficiency, introduce zero-carbon standard for all new buildings by 2021. Require all new homes to be fitted with solar panels. Require phased installation of heat pumps in homes and businesses off the gas grid. Ten-year programme to reduce energy consumption from all UK buildings.

Green Party

  • Aim to reach Net Zero carbon emissions by 2030 by replacing fossil fuels.
  • Green New Deal worth £100bn a year, including incentives to accelerate wind power to provide 70 per cent of UK electricity by 2030, open up more coastal waters for offshore wind and marine energy. Prohibit construction of nuclear power stations.
  • Roll out solar panels and other domestic renewable energy generation tools to one million households a year.
  • Remove subsidies to oil and gas and place Carbon Tax on all fossil fuel imports and domestic extraction, based on emissions produced when burned with tax rising over a decade to render fossil fuels financially unviable.
  • Double capacity of grid, including with solar batteries and other technologies for short-term capacity. Connect electricity supply more closely to the rest of Europe.
  • Provide insulation for “all homes that need it” and build 100,000 energy-efficient council homes a year. Reduce use of natural gas for heating homes.
  • Ban fracking permanently.
  • Encourage plant-based diets with phased-in tax on meat and dairy products over ten years.

Brexit Party

  • Climate change not mentioned.

Scottish National Party

  • Demand UK matches Scottish targets of 75 per cent carbon-emission reductions by 2030 and Net Zero carbon emissions by 2040 and net zero of all emissions by 2045. Demand UK adheres to future EU emissions standards regardless of Brexit.
  • Support UK government in delivering Green New Deal for Scotland. Propose Green Energy Deal to ensure investment in green energy schemes, including planning for delivery of interconnectors to Scottish Islands. If UK does not fully support renewables industry, push to devolve powers to Scotland to take responsibility. Allow onshore wind and solar power to bid for renewables support, support newer technologies like floating offshore wind and tidal stream generation. Oppose new nuclear plants.
  • Put decarbonisation at heart of Scottish National Bank’s work. Bring to market a £3bn project portfolio, including in renewables. Use oil and gas revenue to help fund decarbonisation.
  • Press for accelerated deployment of carbon capture and storage facilities in Scotland.
  • Ensure that from 2024 all new homes use renewable or low-carbon heat. Press UK to accelerate action to decarbonise gas grid. Support ‘greener tax deal’ for energy efficiency in homes. Press government to ditch plans to quadruple VAT on home solar.
  • No support for fracking in Scotland.

Democratic Unionist Party

  • Meet Net Zero target by 2050 with "just transformation". Request the Committee on Climate Change sets formal recommendation of 2050 carbon-reduction target to make plans for decarbonisation.
  • Zero-rating of domestic electricity and gas bills to encourage take-up of more environmentally friendly heating, accompanied by energy efficiency programmes.
  • Support energy interconnection with other countries, including with Iceland.

Plaid Cymru

  • Aim for Wales to be self-sufficient in renewable energy by 2030 via ‘Renewables Revolution’.
  • Create tens of thousands of high-quality jobs in Wales through £20bn ‘Green Jobs Revolution’, including £5bn borrowed by Welsh Government for capital investment.
  • Create ‘Welsh Energy Atlas’ detailing green energy potential and ensuring green infrastructure is built on ecologically sustainable sites.
  • Establish a Welsh energy agency and Minister for the Future to oversee green energy transformation. Fully realise marine energy potential, including tidal lagoons for Swansea Bay, Cardiff, and Colwyn Bay. Build Yns Môn offshore wind farm, build Usk barrage. Oppose new open-cast coal mines, oppose development of new nuclear power stations.
  • Invest in acquisition and development of large-scale generation and storage capacity projects. Establish network of local energy grids for Wales, allow for community-owned energy schemes to be fast-tracked.
  • £5bn ‘Greener Homes’ programme to improve energy efficiency of Welsh housing. Build 20,000 green social homes and ensure all new-build housing is insulated to the highest standards and equipped with photovoltaics for electricity generation and solar water-heating.
  • Support complete ban on fracking.
 

Environment

One thing (perhaps the only thing) all the main parties can agree on is that planting trees is good, with every manifesto including pledges to plant vast numbers of them. Labour, the Lib Dems and the Green Party have proposed a new Clean Air Act, while the Tories have said that they would introduce a legal target for air quality. Amid widespread flooding in the run-up to the election, all UK-wide parties except the Brexit Party have committed to improving flood defences.

Conservative Party

  • £4bn investment in flood defences.
  • Plant additional 75,000 acres of trees per year by end of next Parliament and restore peatland.
  • Establish independent Office for Environmental Protection and introduce legal targets, including for air quality.
  • Create £640m 'Nature for Climate' fund to invest in nature.
  • Extend Blue Belt programme to preserve ocean environment.

Labour Party

  • Extra £5.6bn to improve flood defences.
  • “Ambitious tree planting” programme of both forestry and native species including ‘NHS Forest’ of one million trees. Aim to plant two billion trees in 20 years mentioned off-manifesto.
  • Introduce new Clean Air Act with vehicle-scrapping scheme and clean air zones, complying with WHO limits. Introduce measures to ensure school zones have cleaner air.
  • ‘Plan for Nature’ includes climate and environment emergency bill, including standards for nature recovery and habitat protection. Maintain and improve existing EU standards of environmental regulation.

Liberal Democrats

  • £5bn for flood prevention and climate adaptation, introduce high standards for flood resilience for buildings and infrastructure.
  • 'Nature Act' to set legally binding targets for restoration of nature, supported by £18bn funding over five years. Aim to plant 60 million trees a year. Also invest in restoration of peatlands, heathland, native woodlands, saltmarshes, wetlands and coastal waters to absorb carbon and protect against floods.
  • Introduce new Clean Air Act based on WHO limits and enforced by a new 'Air Quality Agency'. Extend ultra-low emission zones to ten more English towns and cities; ensure all private hire vehicles and new buses in urban areas are at least ultra-low emission by 2025.
  • Establish ‘blue belt’ of protected marine areas covering at least half of UK waters by 2030.

Green Party

  • Aim to plant 700 million trees (including in urban environments) to help maximise landscape’s carbon storage and flood prevention ability, in addition to measures such as soil restoration.
  • Introduce new Clean Air Act and ‘Ecocide’ law to prevent “crimes against the natural environment”, enforced by a new Environmental Protection Commission.
  • Develop a soil-health monitoring programme for England.
  • Advocate emergency international agreement to protect carbon sinks and reservoirs.
  • Compulsory hedgehog holes in all new fencing and bee corridors.

Brexit Party

  • Plant millions of trees.
  • Promote 'global initiative' for environment at UN.

Scottish National Party

  • Press for planting 60 million trees per year by 2025, including 30 million in Scotland.

Democratic Unionist Party

  • Support creation of an Office of Environmental Protection based on Food Standards Agency model.
  • Support tree-planting and agro-forestry. Support reskilling programmes to enable farmers to refocus land use.

Plaid Cymru

  • Greater emphasis on flood prevention in planning guidelines, invest in flood prevention using land-management techniques.
  • Aim for minimum tree-planting rate of 2,000 hectares a year from 2020.
  • New Clean Air Act for Wales to create clean air zones in towns and cities, allow local authorities to introduce pollution charges and allow communities to place pollution-monitoring equipment outside schools and hospitals. Set national and regional plan to reduce air pollution in Wales. Reform plan.
  • Propose legislation to give future governments legal obligation to act for the recovery of nature.
  • Support UN Global Ocean Treaty to create ocean sanctuaries. Immediate moratorium on deep sea mining.

 

Waste and recycling

Campaigns to raise awareness about plastic pollution have clearly done just that: all UK-wide parties except the Brexit Party have committed to reducing plastic waste. The Tories, Labour, Greens and Plaid Cymru all want producers to take responsibility for the waste they produce. Most parties want more recycling to be done in the UK, with the Tories and Brexit Party specifying that they want to cut export of waste.

Conservative Party

  • Make producers pay full cost of dealing with waste they produce. Introduce levy to increase proportion of recyclable plastics in packaging.
  • Introduce deposit return scheme to encourage plastic and glass recycling. Boost domestic recycling.
  • Ban export of plastic waste to non-OECD countries.
  • £500m fund to protect oceans from threats including plastic pollution.

Labour Party

  • Make producers pay full cost of dealing with the waste they produce.
  • Support plastic bottle return schemes.
  • Invest in new plastics remanufacturing industry to end exports of plastic waste and reduce ocean plastic pollution.
  • Invest in three new recyclable steel plants in areas with history of steel manufacturing.

Liberal Democrats

  • Extend deposit return schemes for all food and drink containers.
  • Ban non-recyclable single-use plastics aiming for complete elimination within three years and end to plastic waste exports by 2030. Initiate UN negotiations for legally binding international treaty on plastics reduction.
  • Set statutory waste recycling target of 70 per cent in England, extend separate food waste collection to at least 90 per cent of homes by 2024.
  • Extend incoming EU 'right to repair' legislation for consumer goods to combat planned obsolescence and minimise waste.

Green Party

  • Make producers pay full cost of dealing with waste they produce.
  • Develop infrastructure to allow recycling of almost all items.
  • Ban production of single-use plastics, extend plastic bag charge to other plastics and invest in R&D or plastic alternatives.
  • Reduce food waste through initiatives including using food waste as farm animal feed.

Brexit Party

  • Recycle waste domestically.

Scottish National Party

  • Support portfolio of sustainable projects, including in waste and renewables.

Democratic Unionist Party

  • Support efforts to reduce single-use plastics of all kinds.

Plaid Cymru

  • Extend producer responsibility for cost of dealing with waste they produce.
  • Aim for 'Zero Waste Wales' by 2030.
  • Ban single-use plastics, develop sustainable alternatives. Increase recycling targets.

 

Telecommunications

Full-fibre broadband is another buzzword in this election, with considerable focus on making sure rural communities get their fair share of photons. The Tories want it delivered by 2025 and Labour by 2030. Labour have attracted the most headlines here for their pledge to provide free broadband.

Conservative Party

  • Deliver full-fibre broadband to every home and business by 2025, including £5bn funding to connect premises which are not commercially viable.
  • Provide greater mobile coverage.

Labour Party

  • Deliver free full-fibre broadband by 2030 with broadband-relevant parts of BT brought into public ownership ('British Broadband') and jobs guarantee for existing workers. Paid for with tax on multinationals, including tech giants.

Liberal Democrats

  • Install “hyper-fast” broadband across UK with emphasis on rural areas.
  • Reform building standards to ensure homes built from 2022 have full connectivity to ultra-fast broadband and are designed to enable smart technologies.

Green Party

  • Connect rural communities through high-speed broadband and mobile internet delivered via councils.

Brexit Party

  • Provide free “base-level” domestic broadband in deprived regions by partnering with service providers.
  • Free Wi-Fi on public transport.

Scottish National Party

  • Press UK government to invest in broadband and 5G. Invest £600m in superfast broadband for every home and business in Scotland.
  • Press UK government to reclassify internet as an essential service and to create an affordable “social tariff” for mobile services.
  • Call on Shared Rural Network to deliver 95 per cent 4G mobile coverage in Scotland.

Democratic Unionist Party

  • Support full-fibre broadband for the UK.
  • Support 5G rollout.

Plaid Cymru

  • Create publicly owned Welsh Broadband Infrastructure Company to guarantee access to full-fibre broadband for every home and business by 2025.

 

Transport

The UK-wide parties are starkly divided over HS2, with Labour and the Lib Dems backing it, the Green and Brexit Parties rejecting it, and the Tories saying that they’ll wait and see. All UK-wide parties except the Brexit Party are looking to phase out conventional petrol and diesel cars, roll out EV-charging infrastructure, and partially electrify public transport. The Lib Dems and Green Party have taken the strongest line against airport expansion.

Conservative Party

  • Reconsider HS2 based on findings of review. Connect northern cities and strengthen rail links in the Midlands, South West and East Anglia, and restore lines to smaller towns removed from network.
  • Fund city regions to upgrade public transport services including with electrification and more smart ticketing.
  • £4.2bn fund for new bus and metro links in English regions (not specified in manifesto). Invest in bus networks, including electric buses.
  • No public investment in third runway at Heathrow. Work on electric and low-carbon flight.
  • £1bn investment in fast-charging network to ensure everyone is within 30 miles of a rapid EV charging station. Aim to establish other EV infrastructure, including national plug-in network and gigafactory.
  • Consult on earliest date to phase out sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars.
  • Invest in new roads less likely to form potholes, launch largest pothole-filling programme. Create £350m cycling infrastructure fund and support commuter cycling routes.

Labour Party

  • Complete full HS2 route to Scotland. Deliver a Northern Crossrail. Bring railways back into public ownership, rebuild railways as nationally integrated public service.
  • Full rolling programme of rail electrification across whole country.
  • Take bus networks into public ownership, expand and reinstate/increase local services. Free bus travel for under-25s.
  • Any airport expansion must pass climate and environmental tests and benefit country.
  • Support sales of ultra-low emission vehicles, invest in EV charging infrastructure.
  • Aim to end sales of combustion engine vehicles by 2030.
  • Create towns and cities in which walking and cycling are the best choice. Aim for zero deaths and serious injuries on roads.

Liberal Democrats

  • Continue with HS2, Crossrail 2 and other major new railways with tighter financial controls. Create Railways Agency to oversee railway network operations. Extend rail network, reopen small stations, restore twin-track lines to major routes.
  • Convert rail network to ultra-low emission (electric or hydrogen) by 2035.
  • £4.5bn to restore and expand bus routes over five years. Implement light rail schemes with local authorities where appropriate. Give local authorities power to introduce network-wide ticketing, like TfL. Provide funding for light rail and trams.
  • Moratorium on new runways in UK, oppose expansion of Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. Introduce zero-carbon fuels blending requirement for domestic flights. Reform tax on international flights to focus on frequent flyers.
  • Cut VAT on EVs by 5 per cent, increase installation of charging points including ultra-fast chargers at service stations.
  • Ensure all new cars and small vans are electric by 2030.
  • Place higher priority on walking and cycling, with dedicated safe cycling lanes. Build on Local Sustainable Transport Fund to reduce commuting by car.

Green Party

  • Cancel HS2 and invest in other rail, including electrified lines in North. Open new rail connections and increase capacity in South West, Midlands and North, connect unconnected urban areas and consider re-opening closed stations.
  • Electrify all railway lines connecting cities, create publicly-owned rolling stock company to invest in fleet of electric trains.
  • Give local authorities responsibility for short-distance rail franchises and bus services and encourage them to explore tramways. Aim to make public transport cheaper than making the same journey by car.
  • Cancel plans for airport expansion. Introduce 'frequent flyer' levy. Strip domestic flights of VAT exemption, additional surcharge on domestic aviation, lobby against rules prevention tax on international aviation, ban advertising for flights.
  • Create EV charging network in public spaces, require all petrol and service stations to offer EV charging points by 2025. Incentivise replacement of combustion vehicles with EVs.
  • End sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030.
  • Stop increasing road capacity. Aim for zero deaths and serious injuries on roads.

Brexit Party

  • Cancel HS2. Invest at least £50bn in local rail and road schemes in under-served regions.

Scottish National Party

  • Press UK government to commit to improvements on Scotland-London and Scotland-Northern England journey times, and to reduce domestic flights.
  • Aim to reduce Scottish railway emissions to zero by 2035.
  • Invest over £500m in bus infrastructure to make bus travel faster and greener.
  • Aim to make Highlands and Islands first net-zero aviation region by 2040 with trials of electric planes beginning in 2021.
  • Press UK government to accelerate plans for EV adoption to match Scottish targets. Provide additional £17m to help with cost of ultra-low-emission vehicles.
  • Redesign tax incentives to support sustainable transport, including reducing VAT on bicycles.

Democratic Unionist Party

  • Cancel HS2, invest in other rail projects including Northern railways and upgrading rolling stock.
  • Invest in expanding bus fleets and shifting them towards alternative energies.
  • Continue with third runway at Heathrow on condition of designated slots for regional interconnection. Abolish domestic air passenger duty.
  • Zero-rating for new EVs for domestic use, reduce VAT for new hybrid cars, increase charging point grant to £750.
  • Bring forward ban on sale of conventional petrol and diesel cars to 2035. Introduce Diesel Scrappage Scheme, require checking of particulate matter filters on all petrol cars during MOTs.
  • Pursue bridge between Northern Ireland and Scotland, if feasibility study has positive conclusion.

Plaid Cymru

  • Cancel HS2. Create Trans-Wales railway, connect Wales’ coastal communities, and create Crossrail for Valleys.
  • Electrification of all major railway lines by 2030.
  • Create publicly owned regional bus company for Southern Wales and expand Traws Cymru bus network with coaches powered by renewable sources. Build metros for Welsh regions.
  • Oppose construction of third runway at Heathrow.
  • Invest in Welsh EV charging network.
  • Aim for petrol and diesel cars to be phased out by 2030.
  • Introduce bicycle reward scheme to reduce road congestion.

 

Skills and automation

All UK-wide parties except the Brexit Party are pledging billions to equip the population with relevant skills as technology eliminates, transforms and creates jobs. Labour, the Greens and the SNP have put emphasis on skills associated with the decarbonisation effort.

Conservative Party

  • £3bn National Skills Fund over next parliament, matching businesses’ funding to train individuals.
  • £2bn to upgrade further-education college estate.
  • Establish 20 'Institutes of Technology' connecting STEM teaching with industry experience.

Labour Party

  • Create National Education Service to provide free lifelong education.
  • Allow apprenticeship levy to be used for wider range of training.
  • Aim to create one million unionised jobs through Green Industrial Revolution. Launch climate apprenticeship programme aimed at skills associated with clean technologies.
  • Reduce average full-time weekly working hours to 32, funded by productivity increases. Pilot for Universal Basic Income.

Liberal Democrats

  • 'Skills Wallet' of £10,000 for every adult to spend on approved education through life. Develop national skills strategy for key sectors with decarbonisation focus.
  • Expand high-quality apprenticeships backed by vocational National Colleges. Expand apprenticeship levy.

Green Party

  • £2bn per year invested in training and skills to help access “millions of new green jobs”, with local authorities running new training and skills programmes. Target investment at regions dependent on polluting industries.
  • Promote more remote working, teleconferencing and other initiatives to minimise work-related emissions.
  • Create Universal Basic Income paid to all UK residents of £89/week.

Brexit Party

  • Abolish apprenticeship levy and introduce tax incentives for companies to take on apprentices.

Scottish National Party

  • 'Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan' to help Scots gain skills relevant in transition to net-zero economy.

Democratic Unionist Party

  • Abolish apprenticeship levy and introduce a private sector-focused levy.

Plaid Cymru

  • All under-21 apprenticeships partnered with further-education colleges.
  • No tuition fees for people studying subjects vital to Welsh economy and public goals such as STEM subjects.

 

Innovation and industry

The three main parties have promised to increase domestic R&D spending: to 2.4 per cent of GDP for the Tories and to 3 per cent for Labour and the Lib Dems.

Conservative Party

  • Increase domestic R&D spending to 2.4 per cent of GPD, including funding new agency for high-risk, high-reward research. Continue to collaborate with EU on Horizon research funding programme.
  • Establish start-up visas to allow entrepreneurs to start their businesses in the UK, expand start-up loans.
  • Invest £1bn in affordable and accessible energy research, invest £500m in helping energy-intensive industries decarbonise, and invest in computing and health data systems.

Labour Party

  • Increase R&D spending to 3 per cent of GPD by 2030.
  • Ensure new technologies are not just invented but also engineered and manufactured in the UK.
  • Establish Foundation Industries Sector Council to provide sustainable future for existing heavy industries. Support steel industry through public procurement, build three new steel recycling plants. Invest in three new gigafactories and four metal reprocessing plants to support automotive sector.
  • Fund R&D into new technologies such as carbon capture. Support development and manufacture of ultra-low emission vehicles.

Liberal Democrats

  • Increase R&D spending to 3 per cent of GPD by 2030 via interim target of 2.4 per cent by 2027. 'Strength in Places' fund to boost R&D outside 'Golden Triangle' (Oxford, Cambridge, London).
  • Double innovation spending across economy to aim for “innovation-led economy”. Create more catapult innovation and technology centres.
  • Create start-up allowance to help new entrepreneurs with living costs.
  • Contribute £5bn initial funding for Green Investment Bank to attract private investment for zero-carbon innovation. Increase Industrial Energy Transformation Fund.

Green Party

  • Support industrial decarbonisation with grants to replace equipment with low-carbon equivalents. Deploy carbon capture and storage to combat industrial emissions.
  • Establish network of regional mutual banks to fund start-ups aimed at decarbonisation, including non-profits, co-ops and community-interest companies.
  • Support manufacturing of renewable energy infrastructure.

Brexit Party

  • Invest and create jobs in in steel, railways and defence industries.
  • Transitional relief for sectors such as the automotive industry affected by a hard Brexit.

Scottish National Party

  • Fund emissions reduction through Green Growth Accelerator, combining public and private investment.

Democratic Unionist Party

  • Support increase in R&D spending to 3 per cent of GPD by 2030.
  • Support an industrial strategy which benefits every region and which harnesses skills in advanced manufacturing, engineering and technology.

Plaid Cymru

  • In event of Brexit, replace EU funding which supported research in higher education.

See ‘Climate Change’ for some of these related pledges to transform and decarbonise the economy.

 

Miscellaneous tech issues

The importance of cyber security is acknowledged, with the Tories and Labour pledging to help law enforcement tackle cyber crime. Both have responded to calls to regulate online content, with pledges to protect children online, while the Lib Dems have laid out a plan to ensure that new technologies are used ethically. The Tories, Labour and SNP are all backing a new tax on tech giants.

Conservative Party

  • Create 'National Cyber Crime Force' to help police crack down on crime using technologies including AI and biometrics.
  • Legislate to make the UK “the safest place in the world to be online”, including protecting children from online abuse.
  • Continue with plans to introduce a digital services levy on tech giants, amounting to 2 per cent of revenue generated in UK.
  • Hold annual health technology summit.
  • Set up first Space Command in UK.

Labour Party

  • Create Minister for Cybersecurity; review whether National Cyber Security Centre should have auditing powers; complete regular cyber-readiness reviews. Ensure police force is equipped to combat online crime, supported by new national strategy on cyber crime and fraud.
  • Stop multinationals (including American tech giants) avoiding tax through profit-shifting schemes. Use money raised to fund broadband plans.
  • Enforce legal duty of care to protect children online. Introduce 'Charter of Digital Rights'.
  • Establish inquiry into fake news.
  • Ensure protection for NHS data so it is not exploited by pharmaceutical and tech companies.
  • Reform taxi and private hire services, updating regulations to keep pace with technological advances, ensure a level playing field and set minimum safety standards.

Liberal Democrats

  • Recognise expansion of warfare into cyber sphere and invest in security and intelligence services, including to counter cyber attacks. Promote international treaty on principles of technology in modern warfare.
  • Set target for digital literacy. Add relevant new core skills, such as logic, to school curriculums.
  • Ensure new technologies are used ethically through 'Lovelace Code of Ethics'. Give Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation authority to recall products breaching the code, convene citizens’ assembly to determine when governments may use algorithms in decision-making and make algorithms used by data companies available to regulators, among other measures.
  • Immediately end use of facial-recognition technology by police.
  • Allow public to share profits made by tech companies from their data. Require all products to provide clear versions of terms and conditions relating to data use. End bulk collection of internet data.
  • Create searchable public database of all online political adverts. Review need for election safeguarding in internet age.
  • Recruit STEM graduates as armed forces engineers, with £10,000 golden handshakes.
  • Encourage development of car-sharing schemes, car clubs and autonomous vehicles.

Green Party

  • Introduce Digital Bill of Rights establishing rule of law and democracy in digital spaces, including by independent regulation of social media providers.
  • End sale of personal data for commercial purposes.
  • Encourage shifts to models of ownership to usership, such as car-sharing platforms.

Brexit Party

  • Nothing specifically mentioned.

Scottish National Party

  • Introduce levy on tech companies. Use funding from levy to establish independent online regulator with ability to fine and block offending sites.
  • Introduce statutory duty of care for tech companies to tackle dangerous content.
  • Introduce age verification for age sites.
  • Press UK to scrap VAT on e-books and e-journals.
  • Press for ban on software used by ticket touts.

Democratic Unionist Party

  • Support creation of National Cyber Security hub in Northern Ireland.

Plaid Cymru

  • Introduce online regulator to oversee social media providers.
  • Ensure Welsh speakers can access digital world in Welsh.

 

Key topics

The IET's main focus areas in its policy work

Housing and energy: Set up a nationwide deep retrofit programme to upgrade existing housing and commit to planning deployment of hydrogen to homes and businesses.

Digital: Drive the establishment of world-class digital connectivity and infrastructure which is fast, secure and resilient across both urban and rural areas, through investments such as the National Productivity Investment Fund.

Transport: Encourage further investment in transport technology to improve the efficiency of moving people, goods and services.

Skills: Promote engineering and technology in schools and improve access to impartial careers advice and guidance and promote skills to meet the challenge of new technology driving new industries.

Innovation: Increase Innovate UK’s budget to help address the UK’s under-investment in innovation and the ‘D’ of R&D.

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