Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner has written to Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan MP to urge her to publish the cost of EU exit preparations for the tech sector, following an advertisment placed in the Cambridge News by the Government.
The advertisement, part of the Government’s Get Ready for Brexit campaign, encourages businesses to “ act now to continue receiving personal data after Brexit“ and “review their contracts relating to…personal data flows. Where absent, they need to update their contract with additional clauses to that they can continue to receive personal data legally from the EU/EEA after Brexit.“
The Cambridge MP told the Digital Secretary that “ Cambridge is home to a huge number of technology companies and businesses reliant on data flows – from video games developers to travel booking companies. One company told me that if the UK becomes a third country under EU data protection law, they will be forced to seek over 70,000 contractual agreements with their partners, at huge cost and taking a long time, causing significant business disruption.“
Daniel Zeichner MP asked the Digital Secretary for urgent estimations of cost to businesses, the number of contracts needed and the rate of progress so far.
He has previously raised this issue in the House of Commons, warning that in the absence of a data adequacy deal being struck by the Government before exit day, which has not happened, one travel-booking company “will have to strike 72,000 separate contractual agreements with hotels across Europe. Does the Secretary of State understand that if Brexit means Brexit, no deal means no holiday?“
The then Secretary of State dismissed this as “ever so slightly on the alarmist side“ – but it now looks likely.
Mr Zeichner comments:
“ Cambridge, and other tech hubs across the country, compete with Silicon Valley and other global centres to host innovative technology companies. I hope that this Government really does want to advocate the ‘Global Britain’ often referred to, and that it has the best interests of the tech industry at the heart of its policy-making – but currently, it doesn’t look like it, We need some urgent reassurance of the steps the Government are taking to mitigate this – or we risk losing out to global environments which are more stable.“