The UK is missing out on huge social and economic benefits, according to Go ON UK, as the charity reveals that there are an estimated 16 million people who are lacking basis online and skills.
A report from Booz & Company, in conjunction with Go ON UK, estimated the UK could be £63bn better off if the country were to achieve global digital leadership.
Go ON UK announced plans to establish basic online skills to move the country closer to digital literacy.
Results from the study also estimated the annual total turnover of UK SMEs could be boosted by as much as £18.8bn. At present only 33% of UK SMEs have a digital presence and only 14% sell products and services online.
Go ON UK has called upon its eight founder partners to help promote UK online skills through a Digital Skills Charter. These are Age UK, BBC, Big Lottery Fund (BIG), EE, E.ON, Lloyds Banking Group, Post Office and TalkTalk.
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The partners will be rolling out the charter by making the ‘Basic Online Skills’ development available within their organisation. Go ON UK is also encouraging UK plc and the Government to follow suit.
Martha Lane Fox, UK digital champion and founder of Go ON UK, said: “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.
“We need to make the country fit for purpose through the next decade and ensure everyone and every organisation has basic digital literacy.”
The report from Booz & Company also found there are social benefits to encouraging internet use. These include education, connecting older people and others that are isolated to their communities, better health outcomes and social services.