WITH the news this week from the Centre for Economics and Business Research that UK growth is forecast to be faster than our European competitors in 2013 and 2014, there are encouraging signs that our economy is on the right track.

Yet, whatever the short term economic challenges, we must ensure that we also focus on the long term.

The global economy is changing. China leads the way in manufacturing; countries like Qatar and India are investing in scientific research; Brazil is pushing into the aerospace and satellite markets.

How does Britain, who once led the world in an industrial revolution, compete? This is our fundamental economic challenge, and in our digital age, the answer lies in technology.

Britain is already one of the leading nations when it comes to developing technology. The Government makes no secret of its desire to transform the M4 corridor into our very own ‘Silicon Valley’, extending right into Swindon with local employers like Intel and our fabulous Swindon Museum of Computing, for which I have helped raise money.

At the heart of our technology expertise is the gaming industry. The global games market is set to be worth £50bn in 2014. Britain is at the heart of this exciting creative industry, a world leader, and it is already worth over £3bn a year to our economy.

That is why the Government is helping this industry to grow, providing tax breaks to make Britain the most competitive place in the world for developers, something I have helped to secure.

Our digital technology and creative industries are not only crucial to our economic future, but also provide exciting and highly-skilled career opportunities for our tech-savvy young people. Making video games takes expertise, drawing from mathematicians, physicists, artists and computer scientists.

These are the skills at the forefront of the UK’s digital and creative industries and these are skills we must encourage through our education system.

However successful the current industry is, the potential is immense. Technology has given us the power to game, to surf the internet, to read thousands of books, all from the palms of our hands. With smart phones, tablets and pads, book-readers and millions of apps, this industry has changed our lives.

Let it be Britain that goes on doing so. Let it be our young people, based here in Swindon, that are a part of this, developing games, technologies and programs that transform the way we live.

This country has the skills, our companies have the experience and we have shown that we as a Government have the forward thinking to put our country at the forefront of this growth industry.

In a 21st century global economy, let this be Britain’s niche.