Engineers call on future Government to make UK a global leader in next generation communications networks

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has today launched its General Election Campaign, calling on the next Government to take steps to establish the UK as a global telecommunications leader – and introduce legislation to make sure there is a reliable broadband service across all parts of the country.

Professor Will Stewart, IET, says: “High quality mobile access to data is becoming more and more critical to people in both their business and personal lives. Broadband is now our fourth utility, with many of us as dependent on it as we are on water, electricity and gas. The new Government must make providing universal broadband service for the UK a priority. Good broadband access, based on quality of service from a network infrastructure that can respond to users’ needs and not just on data transmission – or bit rate – is crucial to our future economy.

“The UK is already a global leader in e-commerce, and we believe there is a genuine opportunity for it to become a leader in developing and introducing the next generation of mobile and fixed networks too. So we are calling on the next Government to introduce legislation and incentives to make this happen.”

In its General Election Campaign, the IET also calls on the future Government to introduce new policies in IT, energy, education, manufacturing and transport to ensure engineering fulfils its potential to boost our economy and improve our everyday lives.

IT: A single Government department to tackle cyber security, e-commerce and privacy should be set up to create the legislation the UK need for a 21st Century Digital Economy.

Manufacturing: The UK has an excellent science and research base but often the output is exploited abroad rather than in the UK. We need the future Government to do more to support UK innovation and intellectual property, for example by growing the UK’s network of Catapult technology transfer centres* and by helping smaller manufacturing businesses access the support they need to grow their businesses and create new jobs.

Energy: The UK must make energy efficiency a higher political priority and introduce long-term energy policies to enable the UK to become a global leader in climate change mitigation.

Education: To address the engineering skills gap, we need specific Ofsted evaluation criteria to monitor STEM teaching in schools.

Transport: Long-term investment in a connected UK transport system will improve reliability, comfort and speed; reduce congestion and emissions; and avoid big transport investments becoming ‘white elephants’.

To read the full IET General Election Campaign, please visit or watch our short film.

Notes to editors:

* Catapult technology transfer centres are funded by the Government’s Innovate UK to help businesses transform ideas into new products and services to generate economic growth.

  • Interview opportunities are available with IET spokespeople from a broad range of engineering and technology disciplines including cyber-security, energy, engineering skills, innovation, manufacturing, technology, transport and women in engineering.
  • The IET is one of the world’s largest engineering institutions with nearly 160,000 members in 127 countries. It is also the most multidisciplinary – to reflect the increasingly diverse nature of engineering in the 21st century. Energy, transport, manufacturing, information and communications, and the built environment: the IET covers them all.
  • The IET is working to engineer a better world by inspiring, informing and influencing our members, engineers and technicians, and all those who are touched by, or touch, the work of engineers.
  • We want to build the profile of engineering and change outdated perceptions about engineering in order to tackle the skills gap. This includes encouraging more women to become engineers and growing the number of engineering apprentices.
  • For more information, visit
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