Digital inclusion investment ‘could save UK economy £21.9bn’

Report by Good Things Foundation puts forward the economic case for tackling digital exclusion.

Joe Lepper | 12th Sep 18

Digital inclusion efforts to ensure all adults have basic digital skills within the next decade could boost the UK economy by £21.9bn, according to a charity’s report.

The report by digital inclusion charity Good Things Foundation estimates that at the current rate of investment in improving digital inclusion, 6.9m people (12 per cent of the adult population) will remain digitally excluded by 2028.

The charity also estimates in London 6% of adults will still be excluded digitally within the next decade and is calling on government and businesses to boost their investment in digital inclusion.

Training and support to boost basic digital skills would ensure those who are currently digitally excluded can participate fully in the digital economy, through using more cost-effective online services and improving their employment prospects.

As much as £1.1bn in savings can be achieved by boosting online financial and government transactions and £570m can be saved by boosting people’s earning potential and therefore increased tax revenue, says the charity.

In addition, £1.1bn can be saved by boosting online shopping transactions and the NHS would save £141m by increased use of digital services.

For every £1 invested in tackling digital inclusion, around £15 can be saved, according to the Good Things Foundation.

Economic case for investment

“The UK could be the first 100% digitally included nation and this report shows there is a clear economic case for investing,” said Helen Milner, Chief Executive of the Good Things Foundation.

“So we’re calling on government and businesses to commit to getting everyone online in the next ten years. Those who profit most from digitisation have a responsibility to help improve digital inclusion.

“But there is also a clear case for acting now. It is unacceptable that so many people are being left behind, and the report we’ve commissioned underlines the urgency of stepping up our efforts.

The report The economic impact of Digital Inclusion in the UK has been launched to promote the Good Things Foundation’s #BridgingtheDigitalDivide campaign.