UK charity warns of digital exclusion risk amid new lockdown
Digital inclusion charity Good Things Foundation cautioned against new COVID-19 restrictions across the UK, which could adversely impact 3.6 million people in northern England due to their inability to use the Internet effectively. Professor Simeon Yates’ new analysis found that 11.4 million residents in the Midlands, North East, North West, Yorkshire, and the Humber either have limited use of the Internet or are offline. This in turn limits their access to doctor’s appointments, government support schemes, job retraining, and other critical lifelines. In response to this, the charity called upon the UK government to address the digital divide in the country and advised the government to help 4.5 million people in their digital inclusion and to put back £1.92bn into the UK economy. ‘With 9 million people across the country still unable to fully use the Internet, we’re in danger of heading back to the dark lockdown days of April – where people were, shockingly, being forced to choose between data and food. We can’t let this happen again – but the real fear is this is where we are heading unless the government acts swiftly, working together with businesses and other organisations like ourselves to help more people get across the digital divide’, stressed Good Things Foundation Chief Executive Helen Milner.