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NEW REPORT ESTIMATES INVESTMENT OF £875 MILLION NEEDED TO CREATE A 100% DIGITALLY SKILLED NATION BY 2020

  • Today, 78% of UK adult population has the Basic Online Skills to use the internet regularly for them, leaving 11 million people who still can’t send and receive email, use a search engine, browse the internet and complete online forms
  • A new report commissioned by Tinder Foundation and Go ON UK, estimates that without increased investment 6.2 million people will remain without basic online skills in 2020
  • The report estimates a £292 million investment taken from existing training and skills budgets across the private, public and voluntary sectors will help empower the hardest to reach groups with basic online skills by 2020 – with the cost per person varying from £47 to £319.
  • The report suggests that with an annual investment across all three sectors of £146 million over 6 years, the government would need to invest less than £50 million annually to achieve a 100% digitally skilled nation by 2020.
  • Tinder Foundation and Go ON UK calls on government, private sector and voluntary sector organisations to join their partnership and urgently review their adult training and skills investments to ensure that everyone in the UK has basic online skills by 2020.

A national commitment to get everyone online by 2020 would cost an annual investment of £146 million over a 6-year period if spread across the private, public and voluntary sectors – according to a new report launched today.

Helen Milner
Helen Milner

It’s the first estimate of the investment needed to create a 100% digitally skilled nation – where there are still 11 million people without the Basic Online Skills.

The report – A Leading Digital Nation by 2020 [A Leading Digital Nation by 2020 – Calculating the cost of delivering online skills for all. Report by Catherine Macdonald for the Tinder Foundation & Go ON UK, February 2014] – uses information on the profile of the 11 million and current interventions to get people online, factoring in the barriers, challenges and costs to up-skill the hardest to reach groups which includes 2 million people of working age and 4 million retired citizens.

Creating a 100% digitally skilled nation is a vision which has gained momentum since policy makers and business forecasters started counting the cost of digital exclusion in billions. In terms of lost revenue for UK PLC, potential savings for Government, and missed opportunities for citizens these include:

  • £108 million estimated annual savings for the NHS if just 1% of their face-to-face visits were converted to NHS Choices visits
  • £1.7 billion – Government Digital Service estimate of potential savings per annum of digital by default public services
  • £560 potential saving per household if a family shops and pays bills online
  • £63 billion – Booz & Co report estimated economic benefit if UK led the world in digitization

With countries like Norway already achieving internet use-age rates of 98%, the suggestion is that we adopt an accelerated approach to reap the benefits of a 100% digitally skilled nation by 2020. The report encourages government and partners in the private and voluntary sectors to act now to share the investment needed to ensure everyone in the UK benefits from what the web has to offer.

Lord Jim Knight of Weymouth is Chair of the Tinder Foundation, which commissioned the report. He said: “The fact is that digital exclusion costs Britain money. Not having the access, motivation or skills to use the internet has a real social and human impact, affecting pay, health, educational attainment and more. In turn, that has an economic impact, and it’s holding Britain back. Over the last five years the evidence has grown to show how a 100% digital nation could make Britain truly great – saving the government and NHS billions of pounds, boosting the economy and building human capital. The cost of digital inclusion – based on this new model – is a drop in the ocean compared to the potential savings and benefits of investment. So let’s be bold. Let’s work together. And let’s get it done by 2020.”

Graham Walker, CEO of Go ON UK said: “GO ON UK’s vision is to bring partners together from all sectors to make the UK the world’s most digitally skilled nation. I welcome this report as a contribution to the debate on the investment required from all sectors to achieve our goal. If by 2020, we leave 6.2 million, largely poor and older adults without basic online skills then we will have failed.”

“The report suggests that £146 million annual investment will ensure everyone in the UK has basic online skills by 2020. The government alone spends more than £4 billion annually on adult skills and training. We are asking the government and organisations in all sectors to urgently review their current training and skills investments to ensure that the UK reaps the huge social and economic benefits of universal Internet use. “

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