Bridging the Digital Divide - join our campaign for a 100% digitally included nation

10 Sep 2018 |Written by Helen Milner OBE

Bridging the Digital Divide - join our campaign for a 100% digitally included nation

A £21.9 billion bonus for the UK economy sounds like a pretty big number. It is a pretty big number. It's the number that our new report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) shows the UK could be benefiting from if we were to give 100% of the population digital skills. It's a number that could have a huge impact on the nation, and the lives of people living here - particularly the most vulnerable.

That's why today we're launching a new partner campaign - Bridging the Digital Divide - which is hoping to make that a reality. We're calling on government and other organisations to make a clear commitment to getting 100% of the UK population online - and to taking action to help us reach this ambitious target by 2028.

The benefits of giving everyone basic digital skills is clear, and they'll be felt across the board. Government and businesses will save money, and most importantly, people will have more money, more time and more opportunity. Over the next ten years, this includes:

  • £313m in employment benefits from previously unemployed people entering the workforce due to being upskilled through digital training.
  • £1.1bn from cost savings in online transactions during shopping, which will have a huge impact on those already struggling financially.
  • £141m NHS savings from increased use of digital services. These savings alone would pay for the investment needed to reach our 100% target.
  • £487m in government savings from digital efficiency and increased use of online services, which can be reinvested for the benefit of our economy.

The benefits will see us reaping rewards of £15 for every £1 spent - an argument that seems pretty difficult to counter.

But digital inclusion isn't just a matter of economic benefit, but one of social equity. Those being left behind as more and more services move online are the ones who have the most to gain from digital. The local Online Centres we work with are already doing a huge amount for their communities. It's unacceptable in our society that we are continuing to leave people behind, and we must act now to change things.

Government and other partners are already committed to digital inclusion, but we're just not doing enough, quickly enough, to realise the benefits that we can. In ten years time, almost 7 million people will still be left behind without the essential digital skills they need.

So today we're calling on all partners - big and small, those who are already working in the digital inclusion space, and those who would like to do more - to join our campaign and to make a commitment to giving everyone in the UK digital skills by 2028. We have drafted a digital inclusion blueprint for a 100% digitally included nation, and we need your help to turn this into a deliverable action plan.

We know that we can't solve this problem alone, and that we all need to work together to make it a reality. Get in touch today to join this campaign. Together, we can bridge the digital divide once and for all.