Brexit will be bad for the UK tech industry, Martha Lane Fox tells LBC

24 December 2019, 11:37

The peer who co-founded lastminute.com told Ruth Davidson that Brexit will be "pretty bad" for the UK technology industry.

Baroness Lane-Fox, the co-founder of lastminute.com, spoke to Ruth Davidson for LBC's Christmas special, An Inconvenient Ruth, premiering tonight at 9pm.

When the former leader of the Scottish Conservatives asked Martha Lane Fox about teaching computer literacy, she responded: "This is very, very urgent, particularly in a post-Brexit UK.

"We need to have the most forward-facing, skilled workforce that we possibly can or we're not going to be able to be resilient in the way that I think we're going to need to be.

"It's not just about learning how to code but to me it's about feeling that we have a digitally resilient society, that we put these skills at the heart of how we think about these transformations."

Baroness Lane Fox added: "It's not just about coding but using the tools that we have for how they were designed for 2019."

She explained that part of it is education, but part of it is "everybody challenging themselves a bit" to engage in modern debates.

Ruth Davidson then asked if ending free movement of people across Europe will have that an impact on the tech sector.

rexit will be "pretty bad" for the tech industry, Martha Lane Fox tells Ruth Davidson
rexit will be "pretty bad" for the tech industry, Martha Lane Fox tells Ruth Davidson. Picture: LBC

The Baroness replied: "It will certainly have an impact. It's very hard to know exactly what.

"I believe it will be pretty bad because, at the moment, we have 600,000 empty jobs in the UK tech sector."

She explained that we can't fill those only from our workforce, adding: "Free movement goes to something beyond just filling tech jobs, it's a fundamental notion that we are "better" and "stronger" when we collaborate and allow people to travel and share their skills.

"We need to build resilience through collaboration and spreading of ideas and sharing of skills, rather than shutting that down."

Listen to An Inconvenient Ruth: Ruth Davidson interviewing Martha Lane-Fox tonight (Tuesday 24th December) from 9pm.