UK Labour Party promises end to datacenter planning 'barriers'

With a strong lead going into general election, opposition claims it will 'supercharge' tech sector

The UK's opposition Labour Party – which boasts a sizable poll lead heading into July's general election – has promised to ease planning restrictions holding back investment in datacenters.

In a keynote speech at London Tech Week, the party's science and technology spokesperson, Peter Kyle, yesterday said if Labour won the election, it aimed to "supercharge" the UK tech sector and improve its standing against international competitors.

A central measure Labour is set to put forward includes slashing "barriers" in the planning system that have held back investment in bit barns.

Readers will remember plans to build a datacenter campus on a landfill site overlooking the M25 motorway near London were rejected on grounds it would significantly alter the character and appearance of the area, despite recognition there is significant demand for datacenter capacity.

This week, efforts to push forward construction of a datacenter near East London were met with fierce opposition, despite including a 279-acre "ecology park."

Kyle claimed the UK was in a unique position to benefit from new technologies (yes, he mentioned AI). He promised Labour would "place technology at the heart of our missions and unblock tech barriers to restart the engine of our economy."

Among other commitments said to benefit the tech sector, Labour vowed to reform public sector procurement to make it easier for UK startups to bid for contracts, something political parties have promised several times in the last 20 years.

Other ideas Labour put forward include a "national data library" to centralize existing government research programs to facilitate academic access to public sector data.

The party promised to give the AI Safety Institute statutory footing, and introduce legislation addressing AI risks, rather than the current government's approach, which seeks to strengthen and combine the influence of existing regulators.

In his speech, Kyle also said Labour would keep the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology in place. However, it would also make it a "digital centre for government," raising question marks over the future of the Government Digital Service and the Central Digital & Data Office, both of which sit within the Cabinet Office. ®

More about


Send us news

Other stories you might like