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EU Digital Single Market

Oral Answers to Questions — Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 3rd March 2016.

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Photo of Nicholas Dakin Nicholas Dakin Shadow Minister (Education) 9:30 am, 3rd March 2016

What steps he is taking to bring about the completion of the EU digital single market with regard to telecoms, audio visual policy, IT security and data protection.

Photo of Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy (Jointly with Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy (Jointly with Department for Culture Media and Sport)

This Government are a great champion of the digital single market, and I know that all colleagues will have read the Prime Minister’s excellent White Paper. It means, for example, that people will no longer pay roaming charges when travelling across the EU, and once the digital single market is in place, we will see a huge increase in our GDP.

Photo of Nicholas Dakin Nicholas Dakin Shadow Minister (Education)

According to the No. 10 website, we could create £325 billion of additional growth by fostering a digital single market, and it points to the advantages of that for consumers. Given that, why would anybody campaign to leave the EU rather than energetically work to get the best deal for the UK?

Photo of Nigel Huddleston Nigel Huddleston Conservative, Mid Worcestershire

The Minister will be aware that, at 12.4% of GDP, the UK’s internet economy is by far the largest of all the G20; it is double that of the US, more than twice the size of Germany’s and about four times the size of France’s. Does the Minister agree that getting a good deal on the digital single market is particularly important for the UK, because so many jobs and so much of the economy depend on it?

Photo of Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy (Jointly with Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy (Jointly with Department for Culture Media and Sport)

I agree with my hon. Friend. When he points out the share of the internet economy, it is incumbent on the Opposition to explain why they come to this House all the time to rubbish our digital record and pretend there is no broadband in the UK. How has the digital economy come about if people are not using the brilliant superfast broadband we are delivering?