Today we are launching a Digital Inclusion Strategy that aims to reduce the number of people who are offline by 25% by 2016.
As part of this, we have also launched a new Digital Inclusion Charter. The charter brings together 40 organisations from all sectors who are committed to reducing the number of people who are offline by 25% by 2016, and a by further 25% every 2 years after that.
The internet has transformed almost every aspect of public, private and work life. It underpins our economy, changing the way every workplace communicates. It is reshaping government through simpler, clearer, faster public services.
But BBC research found that 21% of people lack the basic digital skills they need to benefit from the internet. Lloyds Bank revealed, in its UK Business Digital Index, that half of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and voluntary and community social enterprise organisations (VCSEs) do not have a website.
This is why we are launching a strategy which aims to get 2.7 million more people online in the next 2 years.
Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd said:
As Sir Tim Berners-Lee reminded us in the London Olympics Opening Ceremony, the internet is for everyone. We do not want people to feel excluded, our mission is to make Britain the most digitally capable country in the world. A more digitally-skilled nation will help us to boost our economy and strengthen communities.
This new partnership is about making it easier for people to build their digital skills and confidence, with the aim of reducing the number of people offline, so that by 2020 everyone who can be online, will be.
Digital Inclusion Strategy
We produced the strategy through working with partners from across the public, private, and voluntary sectors.
The strategy includes a national support programme that will bring together funding for digital skills projects. This will open the market for new providers to get involved.
Digital Inclusion Charter
We and our partners will urge businesses to expand their role in tackling digital exclusion. For example:
Asda will launch a national programme of free face-to-face advice sessions on going online in 60 stores with The Tinder Foundation
EE will launch a National Techy Tea Party Day in all its UK stores, contact centres and offices on 9 September, providing support for those seeking help with their digital skills
Working with Go ON’s national programme and digitalskills.com, we will also help SMEs and VCSEs improve their digital capabilities through with events and masterclasses. Lloyds Bank’s new UK Business Digital Index will help SMEs and VCSEs to measure and grow their digital skills.