Millions in UK lack basic online skills

About 16 million people in the UK lack basic online skills- a new survey suggests.The report, conducted by consultancy firm Booz & Company, defines basic skills as using a search engine, sending and receiving emails, completing online applications and accessing information online.

Go ON UK, a charity chaired by the UK digital champion- and fellow Millennium Award winner- Martha Lane Fox, commissioned the report.

The organisation aims to do more to improve digital literacy in the UK. It will start by looking at how to improve skills in the workplace.

“We need to make the country fit for purpose through the next decade and ensure everyone and every organisation has basic digital literacy,” said Ms Lane Fox.

The charity has worked with organisations including Age UK, the BBC, the Big Lottery Fund, EE, E.ON, Lloyds Banking Group, the Post Office and TalkTalk, and each has pledged to train its employees in the four basic skills identified by the report.

The report estimates that only one third of small and medium-sized companies in the UK have a digital presence and only 14% sell their products and services online, missing out on the potential for billions of pounds more revenue.

“If the UK can supercharge itself, it could add a lot of value,” said Ms Lane Fox.
Low bar

“This is not just about getting more people online, but about building the skills of those who are online,” she said.

According to the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics, 7.82 million adults (16%) in the UK have never used the internet. That is only 10% lower than in 2011.

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