Research entitled “A Leading Digital Nation By 2020” has suggested that without significant investment, 6.2m people in the UK will still lack basic online skills in six years time.
The report, put together by not-for-profit social enterprise the Tinder Foundation, calls for £164m to be spent annually over a six-year period across a variety of sectors to create what it calls a “100% digitally skilled nation.”
The study claims that although 78% of the population has basic Internet skills, that leaves 11m people who do not – 22% of people cannot send or receive email, fill in online forms or use search engines and browsers.
However, with the suggested investment of £875m, it claims 89% of UK people will be online by 2020, which will lead to huge economic benefits.
“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,” claimed chair of the Tinder Foundation, Lord Jim Knight.
“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,” he added.
The report estimates £108m could be saved by the NHS, £1.7m by the Government Digital Service and £560 in individual household savings, should the money be spent.
It says if the 2020 target is to be met, the government, public and third sector must all work together to review adult training skills and investments.