Does the UK have a digital future? Unless we take some radical steps - assume not.
That's the stark warning from a new report out of the House of Lords, Make or Break: The UK's Digital Future, which calls for urgent action to secure a tech-based economic base for future national prosperity.
"We need a proactive government, able to coordinate and join-up initiatives across sectors, places and organisations,... [plus have] enough ambition to address head-on the national culture change required to meet the new digital age," urges the study.
"Over the next two decades, some economists have estimated that 35% of current jobs in the UK could become automated," warn the Peers, adding that, "Digital technology is changing all our lives, work, society and politics. It brings with it huge opportunities for the UK, but also significant risks."
The study, out of the Upper House's Digital Skills Committee, argues that we are fast approaching a crisis point for the UK's workforce in terms of possibly falling behind competitors, with the committee's chair, Baroness Morgan, warning that while it might be possible for the government to just do enough to "stay in the game," that may be insufficient and it's time we as a country "seize this opportunity if it is to move ahead".
The report calls on possible tactics to keep the UK competituve in the area, centreing on making "digital literacy" a core subject at school, of equal weight with English and Maths, making the 'Net a "utility" that all citizens should be able to get access to ("as important and vital for people as water or electricity") and getting a core Digital Agenda at the heart of government activity and planning.
That's needed as the Lords claim multiple Ministers currently have some sort of brief for digital, plus assorted other bodies like a taskforces, committee's and units - evidence of a lack of co-ordination.
The study also adds its voice to the mounting criticism of 'not spots,' not just in rural but even some urban areas, too, gaps that weaken British firms' abilities to electronically compete.