Thursday, 12 January 2012

UK Comms Sector is vital in rebalancing the economy says CBI report

The Government needs to “think big” when it publishes its forthcoming Communications Bill, and be ambitious about what one of the UK’s fastest growing sectors can achieve according to the Confederation of British business (CBI).

In a new report, called Blazing a trail the CBI says the communications industry should play a key part in rebalancing the economy. To support this, the Government must ensure that regulation is suitable for a dynamic industry, encourage competition in the communications sector, maximise export opportunities, and ensure the UK has the infrastructure it needs to compete on a global stage.

The UK,says the report is already a major global player in communications, with a sector worth at least £50 billion a year to the economy in value terms, and the potential to grow its annual exports by more than 8.7  per cent between now and the end of the decade.

However, major economies as diverse as Singapore, Sweden and China are investing in technology to compete, and the UK cannot afford to take its hard-earned position for granted. The CBI’s recommendations include ensuring that regulations are supportive of convergence, are targeted at a clear outcome and work with the grain of consumer demand as well as a thorough review of the obligations placed on Public Service Broadcasters, to ensure that they remain relevant in a convergent digital world

It also recommends the creation of a (non-binding) advisory panel, with representatives from industries within the communications sector meeting regularly to achieve progress on difficult issues.

Dr Neil Bentley, CBI Deputy Director-General, said: “The UK is known around the world for its cultural exports, whether it’s Adele topping the charts in 18 countries around the world, or Downton Abbey being screened in over 200 territories.

However it added that the UK’s communications sector is worth much more than its high profile successes. It has the potential to grow its exports faster than most other sectors over the coming decade, and can therefore play a key role in rebalancing our economy and reducing our reliance on domestic consumption.

“That’s why we need the Government to think big in its forthcoming Communications Bill. Our communications sector needs a framework in place that will enable and encourage innovation, with a clear and consistent approach to regulations.”

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