The facts behind Digital Poverty clearly show that more needs to be done. The Learning Foundation is proud to have been involved directly and indirectly in the delivery of more than 1 million devices to date.
Digital exclusion is not going away and is a top issue in tackling poverty. Although the pandemic has improved overall access, this is not universal and Covid has hit the poorest and the most vulnerable the hardest.
New levels of connectivity + technology are further compounding + causing new exclusions. These often reflect, reproduce + amplify divides which exist between socio economic classification, ethnicity, + gender to name but a few
Despite significant reporting, recommendations and investments such as the Governments 1.3M laptops and the Daily Mails campaign to raise over £10m this is still an urgent issue. For example, one in ten families rely on a mobile phone or similar for access.
Young people need to be connected, enabled and skilled in their jobs and learning – at school as well as beyond the gates.
Digital Poverty and Poverty are inextricably linked.
As such, this is everyone’s issue, and unless we address it, we will not be able to ‘End poverty in all its forms everywhere’ – this is number one on the list of the UN’s sustainable goals.
It is IMPOSSIBLE to achieve this Goal without addressing digital poverty and it will be impossible to deliver against most of the other SDGs in the next ten years unless we tackle this head on and do it now.
By the end of 2021 – 94% of UK, homes had internet access, up from about 89% in 2019
However, contrary to what some believe, this issue has not “gone away” with the pandemic – but the effects of digital exclusion have been magnified.
While most of us benefited from online services, lockdown had a greater effect on people who are digitally excluded. Six per cent of households don’t have home internet access, and 14% of adults still access the internet only infrequently.
Many families rely on 1 mobile phone or device for internet access representing 10% of all adults and 18% of adults in lower socio-economic households. Even among those with Access to the internet, 5% say they are not confident in using it, again with higher proportions among over-64s (9%) and lower socio-economic households (10%).
We are tackling the issue and together we can make a difference.