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Hancock handed digital brief

July 18, 2016

By Colin Mann

Prime Minister Theresa May’s reallocation of ministerial portfolios has seen Ed Vaizey leave Government and Matt Hancock MP appointed Minister of State responsible for digital policy at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Vaizey tweeted: “Looking forward to supporting the government from the backbenches #vexit”.

Hancock tweeted: “Delighted to be Minister of State for Digital & Culture. Energised to take up the challenge to make UK tech & cultural centre of the world”.

Hancock was appointed Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General on 11 May 2015. He was Minister of State for Energy between 2014 and 2015 alongside the portfolio of Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise and Minister for Portsmouth. He was Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise 2013 to 2014 and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Skills 2012 to 2013.

After university, Hancock briefly worked for his family’s computer software company, before moving to London to work as an economist at the Bank of England, specialising in the housing market. In 2005, he became an economic adviser to the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, later becoming Osborne’s chief of staff.

On his website, Hancock lists ‘Securing Better Broadband’ as one of his campaigns, writing: “We have put forward the legal right to fast broadband in the Queen’s Speech. Fast broadband is no longer an option but a standard utility for most people and I will continue to push for a 21st Century broadband connection that families, communities and business in West Suffolk can benefit from.”

In 2014, Hancock’s department was involved in a £37 million investment initiative in the UK’s creative industries which saw businesses from the sector invest over £17 million to lever £20 million of public investment, bringing the total to £37 million. At the time, Hancock congratulated industry body Creative Skillset on its successful bid, adding that the announcement was “a powerful testament” to the industries’ collaborative working and commitment to develop their talented and skilled workforce.

“Our Creative Industries are a source of national pride, as well as a vibrant part of our economy. There are 1.7 million jobs in the Creative Industries – that’s five per cent of UK total. Five years ago, there were virtually no apprentices in the creative industries – there are now over 4,200. In order to ensure this positive change continues, we are empowering employers to play an active role in workforce development,” he said.

“Everyone in our country – no matter who they are – should have the chance to reach the highest ranks in the creative industries as well as every other part of our national life. This Government funding will be key to helping people break into and progress within the creative industries – spreading opportunity and enhancing social mobility.”

A wide-ranging reshuffle of previous Prime Minister David Cameron’s ministerial appointments mid-July 2014 saw Vaizey, at the time Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, promoted to the role of Minister responsible for digital industries. His responsibilities were shared between his then department – Culture, Media and Sport  – and the Business, Innovation and Skills department.

Vaizey was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries in May 2010 following the General Election which saw the formation of a Conservative-led Coalition Government.

He was Shadow Minister for the Arts from 2006 to 2010.

Further ministerial appointments have seen Baroness (Joanna) Shields appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Home Office and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. She was appointed Minister for Internet Safety and Security at the DCMS on 13 May 2015. She became a joint minister at the Home Office on 3 December 2015.

Before becoming a minister, Shields was former Prime Minister David Cameron’s Digital Advisor and the CEO and Chair of Tech City UK, where she was responsible for leading efforts across the UK to support, develop and catalyse the digital economy. During her tenure, she launched a number of successful initiatives, including the TechNation, the Digital Business Academy, Future Fifty and HQ-UK.

Baroness (Lucy) Neville-Rolfe  was appointed as Minister of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy . She was previously Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (jointly with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport) and Minister for Intellectual Property from May 2015 until July 2016. It is likely that a further announcement will be made in respect of Neville-Rolfe’s replacement.




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