The economic value of data: discussion paper (2018)


Technological change has radically increased both the volume of data in the UK economy, and our ability to process it. This change presents an opportunity to transform the economy and society for the better. Data-driven innovation holds the keys to addressing some of the most significant challenges confronting modern Britain, whether that is tackling congestion and improving air quality in cities, developing ground-breaking diagnosis systems to support the NHS, or making businesses more productive. The UK’s strengths in cutting-edge research and the intangible economy make it well-placed to be a world leader, and estimates suggest that data-driven technologies will contribute over GBP 60 billion per year to the UK economy by 2020.

Geographical scope

United Kingdom

Non-quantified impacts

This discussion paper describes the economic opportunity presented by data-driven innovation, and highlights some of the key challenges that government will need to address, such as: providing clarity around ownership and control of data; maintaining a strong, trusted data protection framework; making effective use of public sector data; driving interoperability and standards; and enabling safe, legal and appropriate data sharing.

Quantifiable impacts

The AI Sector Deal is a package of up to GBP 0.95 billion support for the sector, which includes government, industry and academic contributions. This is alongside GBP 250 million already allocated for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles. As part of the AI Sector Deal, GBP 113 million of Industrial Strategy Challenge Funding has been pledged to support new research programs that use AI, data and digital technologies to enhance productivity in the services sector, and to drive innovation in the use of robotics in extreme environments. To underpin this digital capability, the government is investing over GBP 1 billion to stimulate the market to build the UK’s next generation of digital infrastructure.

The GBP 20 million GovTech Fund announced at Autumn Budget will enable businesses and innovators to collaborate with government in solving public sector challenges, to ensure that the public sector can benefit from cutting-edge data-driven technologies.



Study type

Discussion paper

Economy sector

Infrastructure (Transport), Health, Retail