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General election 2010: Who is promising what for IT?

As Britain goes to the polls, we recap the three main parties' tech pledges

Still haven't decided which way to vote in the closest general election in decades? If a party's attitude towards IT is going to sway your vote, take a look at silicon.com's handy comparison of the promises the three main parties have made on the future of technology.

Labour
Labour has pledged to introduce 2Mbps broadband to every home in the UK and the party has also committed to a superfast broadband network to be rolled out to 90 per cent of Britons over the next seven years.

Labour has also promised to open up the data held by government departments, and introduce a fund worth between £2m and £10m for high-tech SMEs in order to encourage "innovative and fast-growing companies".

The party also plans to cut about £600m from the cost of the £12.7bn scheme to revamp NHS IT over the next four years.

You can see the full list of Labour pledges on IT in our story here.

Conservatives
Like Labour, the Tories have made broadband the cornerstone of their campaign and want to see the creation of a superfast broadband network.

The Conservatives have also promised an end to Labour's ID cards scheme and to curtail the surveillance powers under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.

The Conservative manifesto also states that cuts to IT would play a role in allowing government spending in 2010 to be reduced by £12bn year-on-year, with smaller public sector IT contracts and greater power for the government CIO to oversee government IT projects introduced.

You can see the full list of Tory pledges on IT in our story here.

Lib Dems
The Lib Dems' promises on broadband would see the party using government money to support superfast broadband, "targeted first at those areas which are least likely to be provided for by the market".

The Lib Dems are also planning to cancel four major government IT projects: the ID cards scheme; the introduction of second-generation biometric passports; the Intercept Modernisation Programme (IMP) to log all telecoms traffic in the UK; and the child protection database ContactPoint.

The Lib Dems would also release more information to the public through methods such as extending Freedom of Information legislation so private companies delivering public services, such as Network Rail, would be compelled to release information and the party would also encourage central government departments and local government bodies to make more public services available online.

You can see the full list of Lib Dem pledges on IT in our story here.

government election tech promises

All three parties are making pledges on broadband and IT spending cuts in this year's general election
(Photo credit: Shutterstock)

To discover which of the manifesto pledges are just hot air, read our analysis of whether the parties' IT cost-cutting pledges add up here and here, and the likely effect of this cost-cutting on government outsourcing.

Every party has grand plans for supporting the rollout of superfast broadband and silicon.com was on hand with examinations of whether these ambitions are achievable or even desirable.

Of course, the IT industry also deserves its say and silicon.com has produced its own manifesto, setting out the policies we believe are necessary for the future of technology in this country, from dealing with Britain's changing broadband landscape and tackling government IT, to the thorny issue of the skills shortage in the IT industry.

So why not read our alternative manifesto, featuring golden hellos for CIOs and 100Mbps broadband for all, here.

For more election analysis, check out this appraisal of how the UK political parties' digital campaign strategies measure up - including an assessment by the man responsible for Barack Obama's new media strategy during his 2008 campaign to become US president.