Budget 2015: What Does It Mean For The Public Sector, Technology And Business?

Mar 19, 2015

Chancellor George Osborne revealed that the UK economy grew faster than any other advanced economy in yesterday’s Budget, but is it all good news?

Today 24N is taking a look at how yesterday’s announcements will affect the government’s digital drive, public sector IT, SMEs and technology in the UK.

Expanding The Reach Of GDS

One key proposal in the 2015 Budget was an extension to the remit of the Government Digital Service (GDS).

Previously, GDS has been entirely focused on the central government Departments and arm’s length bodies, but it will now look beyond Whitehall towards local government.

It will be working with HM Treasury and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and collaborate with partners in local government.

The aim is for the local government sector to develop a set of proposals that will enable more customer-focused, digitally-enabled and efficient local services in time to inform future budget allocations.

Civica, a firm which consistently delivers high-quality technology and digital solutions to local government in order to improve its operations, has welcomed the news.

“The Budget revealed extended digital ambition and demand for significant savings through efficiency and reform, whilst keeping satisfaction standards high,” claimed Paul Bradbury, group business development director at the company.

“We applaud the call for closer collaboration between local government, GDS and partners to deliver more customer-focused, digitally-enabled and efficient local services,” he added.

Digital Tax Records

One announcement that has garnered significant attention is the abolishment of the paper tax return in favour of digital tax accounts.

According to Osborne, this will “make tax easier” and government will be introducing a roadmap during 2015 that will set out planned changes.

It is expected that an online tax management services will remove the need for annual tax returns and five million small businesses and ten million individuals will be introduced to the digital accounts by early next year.

According to analysts TechMarketView, government Departments will continue to digital transform and the biggest indication of this was the introduction to digital tax accounts.

“It is, arguably, the political pledge that most shouts ‘major government IT project’! The coalition government pledges that HMRC will begin to automatically collate the tax affairs of millions of citizens from employers, banks and investment firms into a single ‘digital tax account’, which can be checked at any time online,” claimed analyst at the organisation Georgina O’Toole.

“Should this ‘digital tax account’ programme go ahead, the programme will be complex, bringing together data from the IT systems of both private and public sector organisations.

“How the programme is approached will give a good indication of the future roles of the central GDS vs. the Departments themselves,” she added.

Improving UK Access To Broadband

Internet and broadband were also key features in 2015’s Budget with Osborne announcing a “comprehensive strategy” to stay ahead in the world of superfast broadband.

The Chancellor revealed up to £600m will be allocated to clear new spectrum bands for auction to improvement mobile networks and a commitment to deliver ultra-fast broadband to all homes.

Despite this focus on improving the UK’s digital communications, there are those who remain unconvinced by the government’s commitment.

“The recognition by the Chancellor of the vital role that digital infrastructure plays in the driving the UK economy is very welcome,” claimed KPMG head of telecommunications Alex Holt.

“100mb to all premise is indeed a great goal, but for how long will that be considered superfast?

“In an industry that operates within an RPI minus environment, we need to develop a mechanism to better incentivise communication providers to invest in delivering beyond 100mb, truly superfast connectivity at 500mb and beyond to 1gb,” Holt added.

© 24N.biz 

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