Our world-leading national cyber-security strategy, supported by £1.9 billion of transformational investment, sets out measures to defend our people, businesses and assets; deter our adversaries; and develop the skills and capabilities we need. Our experts in the National Cyber Security Centre provide advice and guidance to help both public and private sector organisations be more resilient to cyber-attacks.
My hon. Friend makes an important point. Only 10% of the global cyber workforce are female. That represents a huge pool of untapped talent. As part of our ambitious plans to transform the nation’s cyber capabilities, we have launched new initiatives, such as the incredibly successful CyberFirst Girls competition to encourage young women to pursue a career in the industry—it has more than 8,000 participants. We also want business to do more to encourage women into that exciting and rewarding sector.
I agree that it is important that our young people have the skills they will need to support the nation’s future security and economic prosperity. We are working with industry experts and organisations such as Cyber Security Challenge to reach out and inspire children, parents and teachers through a range of extracurricular activities, mixing teaching with real-world challenges and hands-on work experience.
Many of my constituents are served by Southport and Formby district general hospital, which was affected by the recent cyber-attack on the NHS. What steps are the Government taking to protect our health service from such attacks happening again?
My hon. Friend raises a really important issue. The impact of WannaCry was felt by the NHS as a result of a legacy of some unsupported IT systems and inconsistent software patching. NHS Digital is taking a proactive approach to ensure that security patches are applied promptly, and the National Cyber Security Centre has provided expert guidance to CareCERT and is supporting individual NHS trusts and organisations in their migration from unsupported systems.
The Cabinet Office rejected a Public Accounts Committee recommendation that it should set out a detailed plan for how the National Cyber Security Centre will enable those under attack to get help. We heard evidence from many people in large organisations who were very confused about where to go for that help. Will the Minister now reconsider the rejection of that requirement and look again?
Our advice is very clear: we have funded a substantial national cyber-security programme, which goes alongside expertise from the National Cyber Security Centre. That is directed specifically towards improving the cyber-security of Government and the wider public sector. Our collective focus is on ensuring we have the most secure systems, and that public services and buildings are kept up to date so that our information is safe.
The hon. Gentleman will have heard my comments about the National Cyber Security Centre. It is really important that we have specialists in place to address what is a very particular and high-tech crime.