Parliament logo
Campaign and petition email responses | Digital Exclusion debate

Campaign and petition email responses

Digital Exclusion debate

Greater shifts toward a digital world, especially during the Covid Pandemic, tended to exclude these vulnerable groups further, in particular the elderly, the poor, and people with physical or mental disabilities.

The cost-of-living crisis has also worsened for people who struggle to afford internet access and technological devices that now exclude them from an increasingly digitised world.

In its Digital Exclusion report released in June 2023, the Communications and Digital Committee warns that the Government lacks a creditable plan to tackle both digital exclusion and digital poverty, while half of people over 75 lacking basic digital skills. Some 2.5 million people in the UK cannot do a basic digital task, five million workers will be acutely under-skilled in basic digital skills by 2030. This follows an Ipsos report in 2022 that found at least 10.2 million adults lack fundamental basic skills for getting online.

Effectively, without government intervention, the UK is at risk of creating second-class citizens who cannot use online banking, NHS services such as making a GP appointment, or any public service such as submitting tax returns, applying for benefits, a new passport or a blue badge parking permit.  

During the WMH Debate on Digital Exclusion on the 28th of February 2024, SNP Cabinet Office Spokesperson Kirsty Blackman MP said: “The skills that people require to access digital must be considered. There is a generational issue: younger people are better at accessing these things. However, that is not true across the board. There is an intersectionality of issues. People are less likely to be able to have digital skills if they are more vulnerable, older, or in poverty, or if they do not have the capacity or time to access them.....It is important to be able to access services online, particularly for people in rural communities who are a long way away from those services. It is important for tackling loneliness to be able to access communities online.”

SNP MPs will continue to encourage the UK Government to ensure vulnerable groups such as the elderly, the poor, and people with physical or mental disabilities are not digitally excluded and we invest in digital skills alongside potentially retaining traditional analogue options for those who wish to use them.

Parliament logo

@StewartMcDonald on Twitter