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Originally Appeared: CapX on March 4, 2018

The internet is ubiquitous and essential in our daily lives. But to many policymakers, it badly lacks visibility. When it comes to the availability of statistics and real hard numbers about the contribution that the internet makes to the UK’s economy, there are a lot of blanks.

The numbers that we do have, however, are dramatic.

The number of internet companies in the UK increased by 33 per cent between 2012 and 2016. This added up to £44.8 billion in economic activity in the UK in 2016 — an increase of more than a fifth since 2012. Meanwhile, the number of people employed in the internet industry soared by 72,000 between 2012 and 2016. This 13 per cent increase compares to a 5 per cent increase in the number of people employed in financial services and a 3 per cent increase in the number employed in manufacturing.

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