UK needs to invest £875m to boost digital skills

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by CBR Staff Writer| 26 February 2014

£146m to be invested annually over 6 years to ensure everyone in the UK has basic online skills by 2020.

The UK has to invest £875m to create a 100% digitally skilled nation by 2020, without which around 6.2 million will not havefundamental online skills, a new report claims.

According to the Tinder Foundation and Go ON UK commissioned report dubbed report 'A Leading Digital Nation by 2020', the government, public and third sector will need to join forces to review their adult training and skills spending in a bid to reach the target of getting everyone online.

Tinder Foundation chair Lord Jim Knight said that 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," Knight said.

"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."

The report highlights how the gap in required skills set leads to lost revenue, wasted potential government savings and ignored opportunities for citizens.

The report also suggested that about £146m to be invested annually over 6 years to ensure everyone in the UK has basic online skills by 2020.

About 78% of the adult population have knowledge of accessing internet regularly on their own, leaving 11 million citizens unaware of sending or receiving e-mails, how to fill in forms online or using search engines or browsers.

Go ON UK CEO, Graham Walker, said: "If by 2020, we leave 6.2 million, largely poor and older adults without basic online skills then we will have failed."

"The government alone spends more that £4bn annually on adult skills and training," Walker added.

"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."

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