Labour teases AI strategy plans ahead of 2024 general election

Peter Kyle, Labour shadow secretary of state for science, innovation, and technology, pictured alongside party leader Keir Starmer.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Labour is planning to launch its AI strategy within the next couple of weeks in the latest in a series of tech industry-related moves. 

Speaking to an audience of business leaders at a business dinner held at London’s Science Museum last week, Peter Kyle, Labour’s shadow science, innovation, and technology secretary, said he was ambitious about the UK's AI opportunities.

"We are formulating a plan for government that will harness your innovation and your insight into the economy, the drive that you have," he said.

"If it is out there in the private sector creating wealth and jobs for our country, then we want to make sure that you have the economy that fully capitalizes it, and that you don’t have to go abroad to get the money that you need to upscale… and the skills that you need."

Attendee Steven George-Hilley, founder of city PR firm Centropy, said it was important that all parties put forward clear action plans for embracing AI.

"Having a national AI strategy in place is critical for ensuring the UK remains a global hub of tech innovation," he said.

Meanwhile, Derek Mackenzie, CEO of Investigo, part of The IN Group, said the comments from Labour on AI innovation are encouraging. Mackenzie warned, however, that greater synergy between industry and government is required to fully unlock the country’s potential.

"Moving forward, we need to see more collaboration between policymakers, businesses, and academic institutions to ensure the UK is training the next generation of AI talent, as well as spreading skills across existing workforces,” he said.

Kyle’s comments follow a slew of tech industry-related moves by the Labour Party as it prepares for an upcoming general election, which is expected to come later in 2024.

Earlier this year, he said a future Labour government would look at reforming processes at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT). The party also hinted at plans to create a regulatory innovation office to help businesses align with a prospective Labour government’s industrial strategy.

In February, Chi Onwurah, shadow minister for science and innovation, told attendees at the State of Open Con summit that a future Labour government would focus heavily on supporting the open source community.

Onwurah said the party aims to work closely with the open source community to underpin broader technology sector growth and innovation. She specifically highlighted open source AI innovation as a key area of interest, noting that the ecosystem could play a critical role in “democratizing” the use of the technology.

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance journalist writing for publications including the BBC, Private Eye, Forbes, Raconteur and specialist technology titles.