Although widely viewed as a damp squib, the Digital Britain report should be seen as enabling , with recommendations which will improve the digital infrastructure and enable greater digital access and success. But it won’t do it all, couldn’t and shouldn’t. And, at a time of accelerating change, the recommendations are not future proofed and there will need to be ongoing intervention by the state to support a digital Britain. But what about Scotland?
On the one hand the Digital Britain report did not support the recommendations of the Scottish Broadcasting Commission for a Scottish digital channel and Culture Minister Mike Russell MSP expressed disappointment.
On the other, the report announced the launch of three pilot schemes next year – one in the STV region, one in Wales and one in an English region – where consortia of media organisations will bid for licence-fee money to produce local ITV news. This represents the loosening of the BBC state monopoly and no one can predict where this will end. Things are moving.
This should also be seen in the light of the report of the Calman Commission this week which recommends Scotland have more tax raising powers – albeit at the cost of losing its block grant.
So we are on a journey towards Scotland making key decisions with regard to the success of our creative industries in a digital world and backing them.
I have banged on about the need to support Scotland’s video games industry and the Digital Britain report alludes to cultural tax incentives to support the sector and we can hope that it actually happens. What will Scotland do for our team?