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EU Digital Single Market

Volume 611: debated on Thursday 9 June 2016

7. What assessment he has made of the potential benefits for the UK digital economy of completing the EU digital single market. (905296)

As I was saying, we have a great broadband Britain in a great European Union. Britain sits at the centre of the digital single market, which, if it is implemented, will increase GDP for Europe by 3%, or some £300 billion.

This time, I think the Minister is on to something. The UK is Europe’s leading digital economy, and we have the most to gain from the digital single market. That is why 70% of techUK members and 96% of the members of the Creative Industries Federation want us to remain in the European Union. Will the Minister have a go at persuading his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State how damaging it would be for digital jobs in the UK if we left the EU?

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has a mind of his own, and he quite rightly often takes the view that it is not worth listening to me, which is probably why he is such a successful Secretary of State. I do wish he would listen to me on this issue, however, because tech and digital companies do benefit from our membership of the European Union and they will continue to thrive if we stay in the EU.

Does the Minister agree that the internet has been a huge source of economic growth in this country and that the last thing it needs is to be stifled by the Brussels bureaucrats, which is exactly what will happen under the proposals in the EU’s single digital market strategy?

That intervention reminds me that this is the 41st anniversary of the first radio transmission from the House of Commons, and quality interventions such as that keep the British public listening to and watching our proceedings. However, I do not think that the Brussels bureaucracy is stifling. In fact, 500 broadcast companies are based in Britain precisely because of European regulations.