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Panel discussion on technology

Holyrood pondering merits of a digital minister

digital economyIs Holyrood warming to the idea of creating a “Minister for the Digital Economy”? The subject has been talked about for years, but was resurrected at a Question Time panel event at The Scotsman hotel in Edinburgh last week to discuss the role of technology in the growing economy.

MSPs from three political parties, flanked by an industry representative and a spokesman from a leading think tank, mulled over the merits of creating such a post.

Surprisingly, given his career at Compaq, IBM, NCR, Tandem and Wang, Chic Brodie for the SNP showed the least enthusiasm for a government appointed digital minister, instead suggesting a digital “tsar” could come from the industry.

Martin Brown, country manager for EMC Computer Systems, was adamant that if there was to be such a role it should be within government, a view supported by Richard Baker for Labour.

Lib-Dem MSP Tavish Scott and Eddie Copeland from the Policy Exchange completed the panel. Mr Copeland said technology used to be regarded as fringe activity, but was now at the heart of every business and activity.

One questioner from the floor questioned the resolve of the Government to appoint such a person when it had not been able to even put an enterprise minister in the Cabinet.



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