Future Labour is a volunteer-powered platform focussed on the future of work and the British economy within the fourth-industrial revolution. We bring together entrepreneurs, politicians, trade unionists, business leaders, academics and anyone with an interest in the future of the digital economy to understand the future of Britain, and why Labour has a vital role to play.
Future Labour is the re-launched version of Labour Digital. Started in 2013, Labour Digital worked with the Labour Party to help MPs, Shadow Cabinet Members and the Leader better understand the UK digital economy. Working with like minded supporters of the Labour Party, Labour Digital briefed politicians, held events and produced publications about Labour’s vision for the UK digital economy.
Following the 2015 General Election, Labour Digital decided to “re-brand”. Digital moved from being one policy issue, to being fundamental to all aspects of Government policy. This re-brand was also part of an agreement with the Labour Party Deputy Leader that the party’s digital team would focus on digital tools for campaigning, and Labour Digital / Future Labour would focus on policy development.
Future Labour is led by a board of prominent labour politicians and business people (see across), and is managed by a steering committee of volunteers including:
- Director – Darren Jones (@darrenpjones)
- Editor – Kevin Hind (@krchind)
- Local Government Lead – Cllr Helen Godwin
- Innovation Lead – Michael O’Sullivan (@heavymossman)
- BME Lead – Khalid Sharif (@londonkal)
- Womens Lead – Namaa Al-Mahdi (@Namaa0009)
Future Labour will provide a home for Labour Party supporters who want to be part of the debate about the future of the UK digital economy. It will be the go-to place to get the latest thought leadership about the impact of the fourth industrial revolution, and the role that a future Labour Government has to play to make sure the economy works for all.
We’ll use our Digital Policy Lab to reach out to Labour Party members across the country, to start the debate on the tricky policy issues of the next generation, and to bring experts and thought leaders together.
In addition, Future Labour will:
- provide support to the Labour Shadow team and Labour MPs on digital related issues;
- promote a greater understanding of digital and technology policy issues within the Labour Party and its affiliated groups;
- contribute to the formation of policy within the Labour Party; and
- promote awareness of and be a champion of Labour Party policies within our established networks.
Number One in Digital
Number One in Digital, launched September 2014, contains Labour Digital’s 82 recommendations to transform Britain into a digital world-leader through investment and reform in infrastructure, investment, regulation, skills and public services.
The report calls for a new national programme led by Digital Board of Britain’s digital leaders, reporting to the Prime Minister, to guide this change over the next decade.
The programme has a number of key recommendations:
- National programme to be overseen by Digital Board of Britain’s digital leaders, reporting to the Prime Minister.
- National focus on connectivity – 1Gps broadband to all homes and offices, with 10Gps connections for business hubs like Tech City.
- A National Fund for Digital Creativity to fund digital innovation across private, public and third sectors.
- Establish a Royal Commission to create a flexible, secure, publicly-owned data infrastructure and identity framework for the 21st century
Other recommendations include:
- assess viability of free basic internet for all citizens
- open APIs for 50% of government transactions and retail banks
- tax incentives for corporate venture capital and personal investment
- “Programmers Passports” for high-value non-EU programmers
- a digital Magna Carta to define citizens’ digital rights
- online voting in general elections, local meetings and even for House of Lords votes
- extension of work of Government Digital Service to transform local public services
In a first for any political party, these ideas and others contained in the report were crowdsourced online by Labour Digital’s 300+ members following a launch event addressed by Baroness Martha Lane Fox in March 2014.
The Future Labour Board
Future Labour is led by a small team of experts, including parliamentary champions in the European Parliament, House of Commons and House of Lords.
Rt Hon Lord Jim Knight is the Chair of Future Labour, and Future Labour’s parliamentary champion in the House of Lords.
Jim is the Managing Director of Online Learning at TSL Education Limited, a member of the House of Lords and a visiting Professor at the London Knowledge Lab of the Institute of Education. As the Labour MP for Dorset South until 2010, he was the longest serving Schools minister in the UK Government led by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. In the year running up to the 2010 General Election Jim attended the Cabinet and joined the Lords after that election.
Jim is also a consultant and has worked for Apple, Smart Technologies, EC Harris LLP and Alderwood Recruitment. He is the co-owner of eCan, developer of solar powered digital projectors for wireless use with iPads in Africa and Asia. He is the Chair of the Tinder Foundation and HTI Education Trust, and Deputy Chair of the Nominet Trust.
Darren Jones is the Director of Future Labour
Darren is a technology and telecoms lawyer. He has expertise in technology related regulation and consumer law and policy and is currently a legal counsel at a FTSE15 communications company. Outside of his day job, Darren has been a long serving member of the Labour Party and was the party’s prospective Member of Parliament for the target marginal constituency of Bristol North West at the 2015 General Election. He also chaired the selection and election campaigns of the now Labour Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees. Darren has a particular interest in Smart Cities / Internet of Things, privacy and cyber security.
Chi Onwurah MP is Future Labour’s parliamentary champion in the House of Commons.
Chi has been the Labour MP for Newcastle Centre since 2010 and is the current Shadow Digital Economies Minister. Chi is also a qualified engineer and worked in hardware and software development across the world before returning to the UK to become the Head of Telecoms Technology at national regulator, Ofcom. In Parliament, Chi is the co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Internet, Communications and Technology Forum (“PICTFOR”).
Theresa Griffin MEP is Future Labour’s parliamentary champion in the European Parliament.
Theresa is a Labour MEP for the North West of England. She’s a member of the influential Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats and sits on the Industry, Research and Energy Committee. Prior to her election to the European Parliament, Clare had a long career in the trade union movement and was a Labour Councillor in Liverpool. Theresa leads on the Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe brief for the European Parliamentary Labour Party.
Cllr Theo Blackwell is Future Labour’s local government champion.
Theo is Future Labour’s champion in Local Government, and is the Cabinet Member for Finance, Technology and Growth on the London Borough of Camden Council. Theo was previously Head of Policy and Public Affairs at The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment and the Director of Public Affairs at the British Phonographic Industry.
Zoe Cunningham is Future Labour’s private sector champion.
Zoe is Future Labour’s private sector champion and is the Managing Director Softwire, a software development and consultancy house. A former broadcast journalist and actor, Zoe went on to be Chair of the Small Sofware Association and a Non-Executive Advisor to Craft Candy. Zoe is noted as one of London’s leading women by City A.M’s Leading Women in the City Powerlist.
Future Labour is currently supported entirely by volunteers on a pro-bono basis. It has no actual or potential conflicts of interest to declare.