3 July 2023

The digital exclusion plan needs a new strategy: Communications and Digital Committee

The Communications and Digital Committee has published a report on Digital Exclusion which found that the Government has “no credible plan” to tackle digital exclusion, despite its aim to be a leader of AI regulation internationally.

The Committee has called for a new government strategy to include the following points:

      • Urgent action to help with the cost of living crisis: This should include scrapping VAT on social internet tariffs to reduce the cost, and working with the private sector to scale up internet voucher schemes. The Government should make public sector organisations donate old devices to digital inclusion projects, and encourage the private sector to do the same.

      • Investment in basic skills: the most basic digital skills are now as important as maths and literacy. They should feature more prominently in schools, apprenticeships and adult learning courses. The focus should be on basic skills, not coding.

      • Boosting digital inclusion hubs: There is inadequate support for community based digital inclusion hubs. The Government should support libraries and other community venues to take a bigger role in supporting digital inclusion.

      • Future-proofing public services: the Government must review the increasing use of predictive machine-learning tools in public services to ensure the digitally excluded do not face further marginalisation due to poor representation in the datasets used to inform decision making.

    Chair of the Committee, Baroness Stowell Beeston said, “We need to ensure everyone and all age groups have the digital skills they need to operate and the opportunities to keep developing those skills as technologies change.”

    CSPA Acting General Secretary David Luxton said: “ The House of Commons report highlights the growing divide between those who can easily access local services online, and those older people who have not got internet access and who are digitally excluded from day to day contact with service providers. Urgent action is needed by Government; Local Authorities; and internet providers, to ensure inclusion, including alternative means of contact to access services.”

    Read the full report here

    Our campaign asks

    We have been campaigning and lobbying on behalf of pensioners in the UK for over 70 years. We don’t just work to protect the value of civil service and related pensions, we also partner with other organisations to fight for better social care, health care, transport provision and more.
    Maintenance of a universal postal service and retention of a network of local Post Office and Banks to provide an alternative way of accessing services for those not online
    Digital social tariffs from all providers for those who wish to use the internet

    Are you a current or retired Civil Servant? Become a member of the CSPA to support our campaigning, and gain access to a wide range of benefits.

    Share this post:

    Related Articles