Our statement regarding the new UK Digital Strategy

While the publication of the UK Digital Strategy is welcome, it doesn’t reflect the scale of digital exclusion across the country and the type of support that will be necessary to Fix the Digital Divide.

The government can invest in supporting the most digitally excluded as well as drive high growth digital skills and businesses, and investment in both is essential for a prosperous and fair society.

Digital exclusion and digital poverty remains a huge issue in the UK, and many people who are digitally excluded are outside the workforce. The Digital Strategy fails to recognise or address this huge issue, which is holding us back as a nation and holding back our ambitions to level up.

We know that libraries, employers and DWP alone can’t solve this issue, and don’t always have the trusted relationships with excluded people to build their skills, but also their confidence, motivation and trust to benefit from the digital world. Although helpful, the digital entitlement is not the answer for people who are most excluded from the opportunities of a digital society.

There is an opportunity for the Government to provide real leadership in this space – convening partners, updating the now dated Digital Inclusion strategy and making a commitment to ensuring no-one is left behind. Without doing this, the UK won’t be a true Tech Powerhouse, and the digital divide will continue to get worse.