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Manifesto season: what do party plans mean for marketing?

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On 8 June the United Kingdom will go to the polls to decide which political party is going to govern the country.

This comes at a critical time for DMA members, who are focussed on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Organisations have a little over a year until they need to be fully compliant with GDPR and could face sanctions for non-compliance.

The UK’s decision to leave the European Union (EU) and now June’s snap General Election have created uncertainty, but what are the main political parties saying about the digital economy?

All the manifestos mention the importance of the digital economy to the UK’s prosperity and recognise the UK’s role as a world leader in technology developments.

For example, Labour states that it is, “committed to growing the digital economy and ensuring that trade agreements do not impede cross-border data flow, whilst maintaining strong data protection rules to protect personal privacy.

All political parties state that protecting privacy rights is a vital issue.

The Conservative Party propose to set up a Data Use and Ethics Commission. A selection of data experts would form the new Commission to develop principles for data use in the UK. In order to ‘give people confidence that their data is being handled properly’, reads the manifesto.

The Liberal Democrats want a digital bill of rights, a policy championed by ex-MP Julian Huppert during the Conservative-Liberal coalition. The aim of the Bill  would be to protect net neutrality and support individuals over large corporations.

The Conservatives also pledge to give consumers new rights. They want to give people more control over their personal data by offering the option to force social media organisations to erase information about them at the age of 18, if they so wish. More broadly, the manifesto says consumers should have easy access to personal data held about them and export personal data held about them, which the GDPR will do.

Labour recognises the value of the creative industries in their manifesto, and pledge to introduce a £1 billion Cultural Capital Fund to upgrade the UK’s existing cultural and creative infrastructure. The Conservatives make a similar pledge, promising £740 million to improve digital infrastructure in the UK.

The Liberal Democrats mention upgrading the UK’s broadband infrastructure but don’t give a figure for investment. Fast internet speeds and 4G coverage are still patchy in many places in the UK, especially rural areas.

Support for the creative industries is a recurring theme in the manifestos, with both the Conservatives and Liberals promising industry specific tax support. The Conservatives promise to build on the success of the creative industries tax credits scheme.

The GDPR will apply from May 2018 but it has so far been unclear how the Government will bring the GDPR into UK law. The Conservative manifesto suggests bringing the GDPR in through a new data protection law, “we will bring forward a new data protection law, fit for our new data age, to ensure the very best standards for the safe, flexible and dynamic use of data.

It is encouraging that all the main political parties support the creative industries and place an emphasis on using the success of the creative sector to drive economic growth. For data use and privacy the parties have a number of different policies, many are similar but with a little divergence for some manifesto pledges.

You can read the Liberal, Labour and Conservative’s Manifestos using these links.

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