The intersection between politics, innovation and inclusion

By Sonia Brown , Director of UK Regulatory Policy and Public Affairs • Visa

October 11, 2017

Late September and early October see the UK’s party political conference season in full swing. This year Visa hosted events at both the Labour Party Conference in Brighton and the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester to discuss how technology and digital innovation can support inclusion and drive growth for the benefit of consumers and businesses.

The dramatic evolution of the digital economy in recent years is a hot topic. There is a real desire to ensure that nobody is left behind, be that in relation to how customers shop and interact with businesses, or in terms of the tools and information that small businesses have at their disposal to operate efficiently, securely and in their customers’ best interests.

We hosted a dinner at each of the two conferences for MPs along with a number of our partners including clients, strategic partners, regulators and industry and consumer bodies. Conor Langford, Director of UK Strategic Accounts, set the scene with observations around the UK’s position at the forefront of payments technology, the benefits that can arise from adopting digital payments and the innovations driving real change in the industry.

A roomful of industry and policy experts talked about the drivers and barriers for adoption of new digital and payments technologies for individuals and small businesses, observing the importance of digital skills and infrastructure to empower people into economic participation and enable them to recognise and realise the full benefits of innovation in their lives.

The importance of financial control for individuals, particularly when it comes to budgeting, was highlighted as vital in ensuring that people are comfortable with digital innovation. Robust and effective security and fraud prevention – both of which underpin every new technology that Visa develops – are also key here, for individuals and small businesses alike.

It is clear that the value of electronic payments and benefits of the digital economy are widely acknowledged by both of the main UK parties. The MPs at our dinners were very keen to understand what they could do from a political perspective to help businesses such as Visa to deliver digital innovations that work for everybody.

Their message was plain. They want to act as facilitators to ensure that all of their constituents, be they individual consumers or small business owners, enjoy the benefits of digital innovation.

The MPs we met are committed to working with partners across the private sector to deliver the innovation and solutions needed to drive inclusion across the digital economy. This is an approach that Visa fully endorses and supports and we likewise remain committed to working closely with policymakers, and our partners for the benefit of individuals and businesses.

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