Candidate for Windsor
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Windsor MP welcomes Government report on distributed ledgers

The Windsor MP welcomes the new report by the Government Office for Science on distributed ledgers, also known as blockchains.

Distributed ledgers are a method of recording information on a decentralised database. Proponents of distributed ledger claim that they are more secure than traditional ways of storing data and that they also cost less due to the fact that they strip away bureaucracy and shred red tape.

Distributed ledgers offer many varied new uses in the public sector, such as collecting taxes more effectively, giving the public access to their health records and verifying property and business records more securely.

The report makes a number of recommendations to the Government with the objective of exploring their potential use in both the public and private sectors.

 

Adam Afriyie, Windsor’s MP, commented:

“Blockchains are one of the most exciting technology developments in recent years. As a former IT entrepreneur I look forward to the Government reaction to this report and soon hope to see pilots and trials of blockchains in the public sector.

“The potential savings to taxpayers with more efficient public services are enormous.

“Blockchains are secure but they are not cybercrime free so we must be proceed with caution. The creation of a potentially massive database containing everyone’s information could be like painting a giant target on the public sector for cyber criminals to aim at.

“In parliament we also need to consider the issues around Blockchains and I hope to secure a debate in the forthcoming months so MPs can engage with this exciting new topic.

“Let’s make 2016 the year that blockchains stopped being the sole domain of tech geeks and entered the public space and the political arena.”

 

ENDS

Note to editors

  1. Adam Afriyie has a strong background and interest in science, technology and innovation due to his entrepreneurial background in the IT sector and a variety of posts he has held and/or currently holds, including Shadow Minister for Science, Chairman of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) and President of the Conservative Technology Forum (CTF).

 

Windsor MP welcomes Government progress on self-driving cars

The Windsor MP has discovered through a Parliamentary Question that the Government has made progress on its plans to introduce self-driving cars to UK roads.

Last year the Government announced that it was backing a pathfinder to assess the technological and societal impact of driverless pods in Milton Keynes.

The Government has supported a number of projects in the UK, including UKAutodrive, Venturer and GATEway in order to deliver more precise autonomous systems and examine the intermediate steps necessary to integrate self-driving cars into modern Britain.

The question follows a Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week in which stories about driverless cars in exhibits from Ford, Audi and even Blackberry featured heavily in news headlines.

 

Adam Afriyie, Windsor’s MP, commented:

“Self-driving cars are one of the most exciting inventions of the past few decades. As the technology goes from strength to strength we can expect to see more and more self-driving cars on our roads in the coming decades which have the potential to significantly improve road safety and reduce congestion.

“A forward-looking government will embrace this kind of transformative technology and I’m delighted that the Government both recognises the need for Britain to prepare for this exciting but disruptive new technology and safely allow the private sector to lead the way.

“With the Conservatives we can look forward to a brighter future in which we prioritise backing the technologies of the future rather than propping up the technologies of the past.

“Personally I can’t wait to be chauffeured to my destination safely without a chauffeur, whilst doing my work on route. The benefits to business efficiency and people’s quality of life will be life-changing.”

ENDS

Note to editors

  1. Adam Afriyie has a strong background and interest in science, technology and innovation due to his entrepreneurial background in the IT sector and a variety of posts he has held and/or currently holds, including Shadow Minister for Science, President of the Conservative Technology Forum (CTF) and Chairman of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST).
The Chair of the Parliamentary Space Committee restates support for the space industry

Reacting to the crash of the Virgin Galactic test-flight in the Mojave desert, Adam Afriyie has called for a calm and reasoned response.

Mr Afriyie, who chairs the Parliamentary Space Committee commented:

“It is immensely sad to hear that one of the pioneering test pilots has died in the Virgin Galactic crash last week.

“Since William Huskisson, MP for Liverpool, was one of the first casualties of the then-emerging steam locomotive in 1830, the risks associated with the first generation of flight and transport technologies is well known. Trains and aircraft are now some of the safest forms of transport which have linked continents and boosted prosperity worldwide.

“It is only through innovation, trials, research and investment that sub-orbital space flight will become a safe technology for the public in the future, and we must thank the brave and experienced test pilots for the work they do.

“Whether it’s a public venture through NASA or private venture any fatalities must be investigated carefully, so that the causes can be identified and risks mitigated for the future, but it would be unwise, and unworthy of the test pilots, to halt progress.

“Commercial space flight is still in the early and experimental phase and every astronaut and pilot is aware of the risks when they choose to participate.

“Space exploration brings enormous benefits to us all and has been behind instrumental in developing technologies we now take for granted, such as mobile phones, cameras, SatNav systems, water filtration and medical scanning devices. The space industry enhances economic growth and technological advance not just in the UK, but globally.

“For the future of research, communications technology and high-speed travel, we must react calmly and sensitively to the sad news surrounding the Virgin Galactic test flight, whilst maintaining our commitment to innovation that will benefit humanity as a whole.

Contact:

 

Teaching of STEM subjects in schools

Mr Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many teachers of science, technology, engineering and mathematics there were in UK secondary schools in (a) 2011-12, (b) 2012-13 and (c) 2013-14.

Mr David Laws (Minister of State for Schools): The following table provides the number of science (by separate science subject), technology, engineering and mathematics teachers in service in publicly funded secondary schools in England in November of each year from 2011 to 2013: [1], [2]

Subject [3] 2011 2012 2013
Physics 5,900 6,000 6,200
Chemistry 6,900 7,200 7,400
Biology 8,500 8,700 8,800
Combined/General Science 34,700 32,700 32,900
Other Sciences 2,800 2,400 2,400
Technology 14,800 13,800 13,400
Engineering 1,600 1,500 1,500
Mathematics 35,200 32,800 33,300

Source: School Workforce Census

[1] Figures are based on a large sample of over 70% of secondary schools.

[2] Figures are rounded to the nearest 100.

[3] Each teacher is counted once under each subject they teach.

 

Adam Afriyie welcomes Government commitment to UK spaceport

Adam Afriyie today welcomed the Government’s restatement of their commitment to a UK spaceport.

Adam Afriyie, MP for Windsor and Chair of the Parliamentary Space Committee, said:

“I’m delighted the Government has again committed to establish a spaceport in the UK by 2018. This shows the Government has the vision to imagine Britain as a global player in this emerging industry.

“As politicians we need to keep our eye on the future. Just like business people, we need to spot new opportunities first, and I believe the space tourism industry is just one of those opportunities.

“The UK space sector already supports hundreds of thousands of high-quality tech jobs, and space tourism create countless more in the future. The value of aerospace exports alone grew by 12 percent in 2013.

“Moreover, this will encourage young people to become the space scientists of the future, putting Britain at the forefront of this important global industry.”

Contact:

Notes to Editors:

  1. Mr Afriyie’s website: http://www.adamafriyie.org/