UK Election 2024: Digital, Creative And Commercial Reforms

Lewis Silkin


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The post-election landscape may bring changes to digital, creative, and commercial law. Key pledges include enhanced online safety, AI regulation, Digital Services Tax increases, a Digital Bill of Rights, and tighter gambling and advertising restrictions.
UK Media, Telecoms, IT, Entertainment
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What digital, creative and commercial law changes should we expect after the UK general election? We're listing the key pledges in our tracker. The SNP manifesto was not available at the time of writing (17 June).


Online safety

The Conservatives plan further action on online safety: they will ban smartphones in schools, consult on further parental controls over access to social media and build on the existing requirements for social media companies in the Online Safety Act 2023.

Labour says that it will build on the Online Safety Act, and explore further measures to keep everyone safe online, particularly when using social media.

Reform also wants to review the Online Safety Act and social media harms as well as promoting "child-friendly, app-restricted" smartphones.

AI regulation

Labour says that it will ensure that the UK's industrial strategy supports the development of the AI sector. It will also create a National Data Library to bring together existing research programmes and help deliver data-driven public services, whilst maintaining strong safeguards and aiming to ensure that everyone benefits.

Labour will also create a new Regulatory Innovation Office, bringing together existing functions across government. This office will help regulators update regulation, speed up approval timelines, and co-ordinate issues that span existing boundaries. It aims to ensure the safe development and use of AI models by introducing binding regulation on the companies developing the most powerful AI models.

The Libdems say that they will create a clear, workable and well-resourced cross-sectoral regulatory framework for AI that promotes innovation while creating certainty for AI users, developers and investors, establishes transparency and accountability for AI systems in the public sector and ensures the use of personal data and AI is unbiased, transparent and accurate, and respects privacy. They would also negotiate the UK's participation in the Trade and Technology Council with the US and the EU, so the UK can play a leading role in global AI regulation.

The Greens seek a precautionary regulatory approach to the harms and risk of AI. They would align the UK approach with Europe, UNESCO and global efforts to support a coordinated response to future risks of AI. They also want to protect the IP of artists, writers and musicians and other creators. They want to ensure that AI does not erode the value of human creativity.

Digital Services Tax

The Libdems say that they will increase the Digital Services Tax on social media firms and other tech giants from 2% to 6%.

Reform proposes an Online Delivery Tax of 4% for larger multinational organisations.

Consumer terms and conditions

The Libdems would require digital firms to provide consumers with a short, clear version of the terms and conditions, setting out the key facts relating to individuals' data and privacy.

Digital Bill of Rights

The Libdems would introduce a Digital Bill of Rights aiming to protect everyone's rights online, including the rights to privacy, free expression, and participation without being subjected to harassment and abuse. They also suggest that "all Ministers' instant-messaging conversations involving government business must be placed on the departmental record". In addition, they say that "all lobbying of Ministers via instant messages, emails, letters and phone calls is published as part of quarterly transparency releases".

The Greens also want a Digital Bill of Rights to ensure independent regulation of social media providers. Their version would safeguard elections by responding to the challenges of foreign interference, social media and declining confidence in democracy.

Reform also mention a Bill of Rights, saying "Our data and privacy must be protected. Surveillance of the public must be limited and those monitoring us held to account."


Reform opposes the introduction of a Central Bank Digital Currency, which is currently being explored by the Bank of England and the Treasury. It also wants to ensure that cash is universally accepted.


The Conservatives would legislate to create new offences of creating sexualised deepfake images and taking intimate images without consent. Labour would also ban the creation of sexually explicit deepfakes.

Compute clusters

The Conservatives will invest £1.5 billion in large scale compute clusters.


Vaping, gambling, HFSS etc

The Conservatives will bring back their Tobacco and Vapes Bill. Labour would also legislate along similar lines with a progressive ban and it would also stop vapes from being branded and advertised to appeal to children. The Scottish Greens would also ban disposable vapes.

The Conservatives will also legislate to restrict advertising of HFSS products and gather evidence on the impact of ultra-processed food. Labour would also ban the advertising of junk food and the sale of high-caffeine energy drinks to under-16s. It also says that it is committed to reducing gambling-related harm and would reform gambling regulation, strengthening protections.

The Libdems would restrict gambling and junk food advertising, and would support local authorities to restrict outdoor junk food advertising.

Creative industries sector plan

Labour will implement its creative industries sector plan as part of its Industrial Strategy, creating good jobs and accelerating growth in film, music, gaming, and other creative sectors.

The Libdems say they will implement the CMA's recommendations to crack down on illegal ticket resale. Labour would also legislate in this space.

The Libdems also promise to pass a comprehensive anti-SLAPP law (strategic lawsuits against public participation) to provide protection for free speech, whistleblowers and media scrutiny.

Football governance

Labour and the Libdems both say they will bring forward a football governance bill along the lines of the Bill that was abandoned when the Election was called.

Leveson report and media reforms

The Greens would also implement the 2012 Leveson Report recommendations on cleaning up the media and reinstate the second part of the review. On the other hand, the Conservatives would oppose state regulation and control of the press (including any attempt to bring forward Part Two of the Leveson Inquiry). They would also introduce a new process for complaints against the BBC. Reform says that they would reform the BBC and get rid of the licence fee.

Plaid Cymru support the devolution of broadcasting powers to Wales, and want an independent Broadcasting Authority for Wales.

Free to air coverage of sporting events

The Libdems would expand the list of sporting fixtures which must have live free-to-air coverage to include more football matches as well as key international cricket, rugby, golf and tennis fixtures. The Scottish Greens have called for football matches involving the Scotland football team to be free to air. Plaid Cymru believes that sporting events of national importance to Wales, such as the Rugby Six Nations, should remain free-to-air on television.


Business support and procurement

The Conservatives say that they will offer a business rates support package worth £3.4billion over the next five years to support small businesses with improved public procurement system to increase share of public contracts won. The Greens also have proposals relating to procurement rules. Reform says that it would review all EU legislation.

Late payments

Labour will take act on late payments to ensure small businesses and the self-employed are paid on time. The Libdems would require all government agencies and contractors and companies with more than 250 employees to sign up to the prompt payment code.

Electric vehicles

Labour will also support the transition to electric vehicles by accelerating the roll out of charge points, giving certainty to manufacturers by restoring the phase-out date of 2030 for new cars with internal combustion engines, and supporting buyers of secondhand electric cars by standardising the information supplied on the condition of batteries. The Libdems also have proposals to make charging electric cars easier.

Environmental issues

The Libdems would requiring airlines to show the carbon emissions for domestic flights compared to the equivalent rail option at booking.

The Greens will push forward the recommendations from the Climate Change Committee to reduce emissions of polluting fluorinated gases in all manufactured goods. They will also increase the scope of bans on single-use plastics in packaging and disposable products such as baby wipes.

The Greens would also require manufacturers to offer ten-year warranties on white goods, to encourage repair and reuse. They would introduce a comprehensive 'right to repair', so that goods remain operational years after purchase, and to eliminate built-in obsolescence. They would require manufacturers to produce only the most energy efficient white goods, TVs, lighting and electric cookers.

Plaid Cymru says that it would introduce a Business, Human Rights and Environment Bill. This would mandate that private companies conduct due diligence in their supply chains to prevent human rights abuses and environmental harms.


Reform would grant powers to the Competitions and Markets Authority to ensure fair pricing – there is no more detail here.

Plaid Cymru would extend the Welsh Language Standards to the private sector, including banks, car-parks and supermarkets.


Reform also say that they would abolish IR35.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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