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New report reveals lack of online skills a factor in £63bn economic shortfall…

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Martha Lane Fox UK Digital ChampionUK’S £63 BILLION MISSED OPPORTUNITY
New report reveals lack of online skills a factor in economic shortfall

·      16 million people in the UK still don’t have basic online skills
·      Go ON UK sets online skills benchmark for the nation
·      Go ON UK Founder Partners launch new Digital Skills Charter

Go ON UK, the charity chaired by UK Digital Champion Martha Lane Fox, today reveals there are an estimated 16 million people in the UK who don’t have the basic online skills to benefit fully from the internet. As a result, the nation is missing out on huge social and economic benefits.

Go ON UK is calling for that to change and is announcing plans that include establishing, for the first time, the basic online skills required to move the whole nation closer to digital literacy.

A new report by Booz & Company, in conjunction with Go ON UK, has found the UK economy could have been £63 billion better off if the nation had achieved global digital leadership. The report found that while billions have been lost, there is still a huge multi-billion pound potential that can be unlocked by addressing the digital awareness and skills gap andinvesting in our digital infrastructure and services.

Booz & Company also estimate that annual totalturnover of UK SMEs could be boosted by £18.8 billion. Currently, only one-third (33 per cent) of SMEs have a digital presence and only 14 per cent sell their products and services online.

Added to the economic uplift, the report also showed that there are huge social benefits. These include: education; connecting older people and those who are isolated to their communities effectively; helping people back into work; and better health outcomes and social services. These collective benefits can only be realised, however, if everyone has basic online skills.

As a result of the findings, Go ON UK has worked with its eight Founder partners: Age UK, BBC, Big Lottery Fund (BIG), EE, E.ON, Lloyds Banking Group, Post Office and TalkTalk to take the lead in building the UK’s online skills by uniting behind a Digital Skills Charter.

Go ON UK’s first objective is to address digital skills in the workplace, where an estimated 4.5 million people currently lack ‘Basic Online Skills’. To kick-start the programme Go ON UK Founder Partners will be rolling out their charter commitments either by making available ‘Basic Online Skills’ development in their organisations or by going above and beyond this commitment. Go ON UK is calling on UK plc and the Government to follow suit.

Martha Lane Fox commented: “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.”

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