The weekly summary of tech policy and politics Issue 47 / 15 October 2021
I'm back after a three week hiatus following the birth of my daughter!
Proposed changes to UK capital markets won't go far enough (link)
A few weeks back The Economist leader made an argument that is worthy of being this week's feature.
The Financial Conduct Authority are looking, following the Hill Review, at ways to make the UK's public markets more attractive to high growth companies. At the moment, the London Stock Exchange is overwhelmingly made up of 19th and 20th century companies. It's why the LSE has grown at a snail's pace compared to international competitors.
The FCA have a chance to truly modernise, to allow for new share models, wider indexing, and greater access the public markets. This would not only benefit UK plc, it would also benefit the average investor and pension contributor: they will gain exposure to companies that will grow their money rather than those that are in steady decline.
It will require bravery from the FCA and HMT to make sure the UK's capital markets support 21st century companies. The jury is out on whether they'll step up.
Other stories this week
G7 publish public policy principles for Retail Central Bank Digital Currencies(link)
The G7 have published a list of principles governing the development and issuing of CBDCs. I did a ctrl+F and there isn't a single mention of blockchain. The relationship between CBDCs and decentralised digital currencies will be one to watch in the coming years.
Apple, the App Store, competitio and security (link)
Apple has been pushing back on the idea that it should allow apps to sideload on iPhones. They say it'll leave users phones at risk, while others (like Tim Sweeney of Epic) argue that it will increase competition. I tend to agree with Apple. The average user won't use 2FA, letting users download from everywhere is how a generation of PCs got broken.
Great stats from Tech Nation (a client of Taso Advisory), showing that UK startups have secured a record £20bn from investors so far this year.
Consultations to note
Central Bank Digital Currencies: The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee (link) - opened 16/09/21, closing 15/10/21.
Reporting rules for digital platforms: HMRC (link) - opened 30/07/21, closing 22/10/21.
Audience protection standards on Video-on-Demand Services: DCMS (link) - opened 31/08/21, closing 26/10/21.
Data: a new direction: DCMS (link) - opened 10/09/21, closing 19/11/21.
Wireless Infrastructure Strategy: DCMS (link) - opened 14/10/21, closing 25/11/21.
Next week in Parliament
On Monday we have Home Office oral questions, where Cat Smith has a question on online fraud and scams (hello ever-expanding Online Safety Bill). The Draft Online Safety Bill Joint Committee will take oral evidence.
On Tuesday the Lords Economic Affairs Committee will take evidence on Central Bank Digital Currencies.
On Wednesday Nick Fletcher has a Westminster Hall debate on the future impact of artificial intelligence on the economy and society.
On Thursday the Draft Online Safety Bill Joint Committee will take more oral evidence.
What I've been reading and listening to
Antonio García Martínez: Chaos Monkeys: Inside the Silicon Valley Money Machine
Michael Lewis: Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt
My recent work
Taso Advisory is hiring
We're hiring again at Taso Advisory. We're looking for someone to join the team in a senior role. They'll have a real expertise in and passion for tech policy. They'll have the chance to participate in and help to shape our rapid growth. Is that you? Or do you know someone? More details are here.
Taso Advisory client Plexal hosted the Chancellor of the Excequer's inaugural tech conference: Treasury Connect. It brought together leaders of the UK's tech sector to discuss how the Government can maintain and build on the UK's position as a leading digital economy.
Online Safety Bill messaging workshops
Taso Advisory ran a messaging workshop for companies who wanted to engage with the Online Safety Bill. If we can help you and your team to prepare your messages for policy and political challenges, get in touch.
If you'd like a conversation about how either Taso Advisory or Greenstone Research can support you, please just get in touch.
Did you like this issue of The Policy Download?
Subscribe to receive it again, and share it with your friends and colleagues.
Ben is the managing director of Taso Advisory, a public policy consultancy, and the director of Greenstone Research, a subscription policy research service. Before this, Ben was an adviser to UK government ministers, including two ministers with responsibility for digital and the creative industries.