Report - 16 Million in the UK Lack Basic Online Skills

Launched by the UK’s digital champion Martha Lane Fox, the report claims that 16 million Britons still lack the basic online skills needed to benefit from using the internet, including 4.5million people who are currently in the UK workforce.

Consultants Booz and Company also claimed that the UK had missed an opportunity worth £63billion by failing to take a global lead in digital skills and commerce. Currently, just a third of small and medium businesses have a website and only 14 per cent sell their existing products online.

Lane Fox, who now chairs a charity called ‘Go On’ to encourage use of the web, said that a coalition of major businesses, including Lloyds Bank, mobile network EE, energy group E.On, the Post Office and the BBC, as well as Age UK and the Big Lottery Fund, had committed to train all their employees to a basic standard of ‘digital literacy’. Workers and their families will be trained to use the internet for shopping and entertainment as well as to use government services. It is estimated that people can save up to £1,300 per year by using the web to compare prices of rival products and take advantage of online discounts, and that even the least well-off can save £250.

“We read every day of the huge challenges that the UK faces both economically and socially. The findings of this report and the commitments from the founder partners of Go ON UK are the first step in unlocking the potential of the country by putting the Internet at the heart of the solution,” said Lane Fox. “We need to make the country fit for purpose through the next decade and ensure everyone and every organisation has basic digital literacy.”