An investment of £875 million is needed to get the UK online by 2020, according to a report by Tinder Foundation and Go ON UK.
The report suggests an annual investment of £146 million will be needed over the next six years, across the private, public and voluntary sectors, to ensure the nation is 100% digitally skilled.
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The report A Leading Digital Nation by 2020 reached the figure after using information on the profile of the 11 million people who currently do not have basic online skills, such as how to send and receive emails, use a search engine, browse the internet and complete online forms.
Without increased investment by 2020, 6.2 million people will remain without basic online skills, according to the report.
The report also estimated lost revenue for UK PLC, potential savings for government and opportunities missed for citizens, revealing that £108 million could be saved for the NHS if 1% of face-to-face visits were converted to NHS Choice visits, £1.7 billion potential savings through the Government Digital Service and £560 potential savings per household for families choosing to shop and pay bills online.
The CEO of Tinder Foundation, Helen Milner, recently told Computer Weekly: “If people have basic online skills, they’ll also be more employable. If you have a job, you pay taxes, your earn money, you spend money, so it’s actually all good for the economy.”
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Lord Jim Knight of Weymouth, chair of the Tinder Foundation, 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.”
Tinder Foundation and Go ON UK are calling upon the government, private and voluntary sector to review their adult training and skills investments to help reach the goal of a 100% digital nation by 2020.
Graham Walker, chief executive 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."
Walker said the government already spends £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."