Jo Gideon, the Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent Central joined a panel discussion chaired by Will Tanner, Director of Onward on ‘Building Connectivity: How best to harness digital infrastructure to level up the country‘. Also on the panel were:
- Matt Warman MP, Minister for Digital Infrastructure
- Alan Mak MP, MP for Havant
- Nick Jeffery, CEO of Vodafone UK
Commenting on the role of digital infrastructure and better connectivity as part of the levelling up agenda, Jo Gideon said:
"Levelling-up is about much more than building bridges or about trains, buses and roads; it is about sharing opportunity, productivity, and ambition across all parts of our country; it is about tackling the entrenched economic and social inequalities that hold people back, and it is about empowering our communities with the right tools and opportunities that they need to harness the possibilities of technology and to achieve these wonderful things.
"Fast-forward to today, and you will see that pottery is not just our past – it is our present and our future. Portmeirion, Emma Bridgewater, Wade – all manufacture in Stoke Central and export right across the world. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what we can achieve; the talent, skill and natural ability of our agile workforce remain largely untapped. With the roll out of better connectivity and a world class 5G network across the City, we would open so many doors for businesses, entrepreneurs and investors to come to our City and fully utilise and harness the capabilities of our workforce.
"To conclude, levelling up is about so much more than what we see on the surface, particularly when discussing physical and concrete infrastructure; levelling up is about tackling the inequality of opportunity, possibility and ambition that exists in our country. Which is why it is so important that benefits of better connectivity in terms of remote working; education; healthcare; security; civic engagement; renewable energy and so much more are shared right throughout society."