As UK Government Departments go, not one has such a large and varied brief as the
Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport. The clue is really in the name, as one
Secretary of State has control over the BBC, Sports Policy, the National Lottery and Digital
Infrastructure. Even below that, the Junior Ministers of the Department have varied portfolios
too; with Infrastructure linked with the Creative Industries and Digital Policy linked with
Gambling. Therefore, the department should be broken up, so that digital policy and
infrastructure can be handled away from the media, culture, and sport.

Nadine Dorries as a Secretary of State cannot build up our digital infrastructure. Dorries is a
Johnson loyalist brought in to please the base that their concerns on the BBC and the over-
hyped and non-existent ‘culture wars’ are being met. She does not understand the digital
world, having tweeted in 2017 that ‘All my staff have my login details. A frequent shout
when I manage to sit at my desk myself is, ‘what is the password?’’ (Dorries, 2017) . It is
extremely reassuring to know that the UK’s Digital Secretary doesn’t know the first rule of
internet security.

In the 2019 election, a key campaign promise of the Conservatives was to ‘bring full-fibre
and gigabit-capable broadband to every home and business across the UK by 2025’ (The
Conservative and Unionist Party, 2019) , as part of their levelling up agenda. Historically,
rural communities have fallen behind the rest of the country as digital capability becomes
much more important in the way that we communicate and do business. Unfortunately, this
process is falling even further behind, with an October briefing from the government
announcing that work will only begin on these upgrades in 2024 (Department of Digital,
Culture, Media and Sport, 2021) . This will lead to long-term inequalities across the country,
as economic growth diverges further between regions, it will only make it harder for levelling
up to occur. Furthermore, the UK’s productivity is about 15% below that of the US and
France (House of Commons Library, 2022) , and long-run economic growth depends upon
boosting productivity, through technological advancement, as much as boosting factor inputs,
as the Solow model suggests.

As the UK has left the EU, parts of the regulatory framework previously handled by the
European Commission have been handed to UK regulators. This means that competition
policy and consumer protection for technology firms such as Google and Netflix is now in
the domain of the UK Government. This gives the UK the chance to have a forward-thinking
tech-positive regulatory climate to motivate firms to relocate to the UK, creating high-quality
modern jobs. In Belgium, France and Germany, as well as the European Commission itself,
there are ministers whose only focus is on the digital aspect of the brief. These include both
regulations and the aspect of building up world-leading firms, and it is vital that in this
rapidly changing technological situation, one department has the responsibility and more
importantly, the foresight to make these changes before they are desperately needed or leave
us behind rival economies.

Furthermore, throughout the pandemic, we have seen greater digitalisation of government
services, which has saved both money and resources as the government moves towards net-
zero. With a Secretary of State focusing solely on digital, Government could save nearly £2
billion (Centre for Public Impact, 2016) by digiting government services, while also making
it simpler for citizens to access essential services, information, and advice.

Therefore, for the UK government to properly benefit from Brexit and the departure of the
country from the EU’s regulatory regime, Digital needs to be split off from the Department of
Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, as the brief is much too important in light of the rise of
big tech, as well as the future of the UK economy and its performance with regards to
levelling up. Nadine Dorries as Secretary of State will mean that the government’s promises
will be left behind as she ignites further culture wars, while rural communities suffer from
low network capabilities and become increasingly separated from the markets they need to