Action on digital inclusion is needed from government and businesses to ensure everyone in the UK benefits from the digital world, a new report says.
Released this week, A Blueprint for a 100% Digitally Included Nation from the Good Things Foundation claims that 6.9 million people will remain digitally excluded by 2028 at the current rate of investment. The report says that digital exclusion is holding back economic growth and stalling social inclusion, with 11.3 million adults lacking one or more of the basic digital skills for life and work.
It says the UK could benefit to the tune of £21.9bn within a decade by upskilling the entire population in digital skills.
To address these issues the foundation has launched its #BridgingtheDigitalDivide campaign, calling on the government and companies to commit to achieving a 100 per cent digital nation within 10 years. To achieve this, it has set out six objectives:
- Set a bold ambition: agree a goal of a 100 per cent digitally included nation by 2028.
- Drive motivation: promote the benefits of the internet.
- Build skills: provide free essential digital skills support for everyone who needs it.
- Lead from the front: employers taking responsibility for their own employees.
- Make it affordable: ensure no one is denied access to the digital world because of their personal income.
- Make digital a social priority: bring social inclusion and digital inclusion together to develop practical solutions to the big challenges facing society today and in the future.
Organisations that have already pledged their support include the Lloyds Banking Group, Google, Capita, Leeds City Council and Nesta.
Helen Milner OBE, chief executive of the Good Things Foundation, said: "In a world where we increasingly rely on digital in all areas of our lives, current rates of progress are too slow.
"Everyone in the UK should have the confidence, skills, support and access to use digital technology to participate in society and benefit from the digital world. And we want to move faster towards realising this aim."