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Press release

Budget: investment in digital technologies and driverless cars will position UK as world-leader

22 November 2017


The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has responded to the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget, which includes investment in digital technologies and a plan to bring driverless cars to our roads.

Driverless cars

Paloma Cid, Transport Lead at the IET said: “The Government’s plan to bring driverless cars to our roads is a bold and exciting target. Driverless vehicles have huge potential to transform the UK’s transport network by improving road safety, reducing congestion and lowering emissions.

“As we move towards driverless cars appearing on our roads, the public’s acceptance and trust will be crucial, so it will be imperative to win over everyone from car manufacturers to consumers to the benefits of driverless cars.”

Housing

Alan Howard, Design and Manufacturing Lead at the IET said: “Digital transformation of the construction industry will encourage the use of off-site methods which will massively increase the productivity of the sector. Traditionally, the UK construction sector has one of the lowest productivity rates of all industry sectors.

“Housebuilding really hasn’t updated its techniques so new technology has the potential to allow housing to cost less to build, in less time, with an overall safer and healthier end product. This would allow any investment made by government and any land freed up for housing, to be used more effectively.”

New technologies

Ahmed Kotb, IT and Communications Lead at the IET said: “The UK has a real opportunity to lead the world with new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence so the additional funding will play a crucial role in positioning us on the world stage. As technology continues to impact industry and digital technologies rapidly advance, it is crucial that to fully exploit these exciting opportunities we must ensure that skills development keeps pace with digitisation.”

NHS / healthcare

Nury Moreira, Healthcare Lead at the IET said: “One of the core focuses of the 2017 Autumn Budget should have been around investing in modernising public healthcare.  The NHS must undergo a comprehensive digital transformation embedding robust engineering solutions and digital skills, which will significantly enable nurses and doctors to be more efficient in their respective jobs, ensuring that resource is utilised as effectively as possible while also cutting down on waiting times.

“The Government should invest in prevention and be exploring all possible avenues to reduce the burden on the nation’s critical state of health and social care.  Put simply; investment should be pumped into the NHS in the short-term if long-term cost savings are to be realised for the greater benefit of society.”

Education

Stephanie Baxter, Education Lead at the IET, said: “As we are facing an engineering shortfall in the next decade, the financial boost for students studying the crucial engineering gateway subject of Maths at A-Level is welcome news.

“This is a small step in the right direction and there remains huge demand for engineers. We ultimately need to look at the focus on Maths and Physics, as studying engineering is creative and should not be limited to only those who have taken these subjects.

“We are at risk of stifling economic growth if we do not encourage more students to study engineering, which is crucial to ensuring a healthy and balanced economy. It is vital that students are supported in their studies so that they are aware of the exciting range of engineering roles available to them. This extends past GSCE and A-Level choices to university, apprenticeships and providing quality work experience.” 

Notes to editors:

Media enquiries to:

Hannah Kellett

IET External Communications Manager

07738602426

hkellett@theiet.org