Today, Tom Watson MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport was in Hove to visit FuturLab- an award winning British mobile and console games developer.
Brighton and Hove is home to one of Europe’s most creative and vibrant digital and IT Clusters; and to a community of entrepreneurs keen to contribute to policies that encourage future growth.
As part of Labour’s week of campaigning on education, Tom, joined by Peter Kyle MP, met with Kirsty Rigden, Development Director and James Marsden, Managing Director at FuturLab to discuss Labour’s plan to invest in the creative and digital economy and to tackle the digital skills crisis head on.
Tom Watson MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said:
“Brighton and Hove is at the forefront of the digital revolution, and it’s brilliant to see what so many new tech businesses are doing for the area.
“FuturLab is at the centre of progress on Virtual Reality and are producing fantastic games.
"I'm a gamer, I've played thousands of games over the years, but their newest release, Tiny Tracks, was the most impressive virtual reality game I've played yet.
“If we are going to sustain the success story that is the British Games industry we have to invest from early on and make sure we have an education system that produces the talent we need to sustain growth.
“The current situation where 22% of school IT equipment is ineffective and 65% of computer science teachers don’t have a relevant qualification is just not good enough.
“Labour will make it a priority that the sector gets the support it needs so Brighton and Hove’s success story can be replicated across the country.”
Peter Kyle, MP for Hove and Portslade, said:
"I'm so proud to be MP for an area that has such talent and creative entrepreneurs.
“I set up my own digital company twenty years ago so I understand the pressures and the rewards of working in Hove and Portslade - that's why week in, week out I'm working to support these amazing small businesses to grow."
Notes to Editors:
The core UK games Industry contributed £755m in direct Gross Value Added to the UK economy in 2015. The industry directly employed 12,100 full-time employees in 1,802 active games companies- a growth rate of 63% between 2011-2015 (The games industry in numbers https://ukie.org.uk/research)
Despite the huge growth in the industry, in 2016 a Parliament Science and Technology Select Committee report found that 12 million people in the UK lacked basic digital skills. (https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmsctech/270/270.pdf)