UK’s ambition to become technology superpower hindered by digital exclusion, report finds

The report criticises the government for lacking a credible plan to tackle this issue and emphasises its adverse effects on economic growth, public health, and equality.

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The UK government’s ambition to become a technology superpower and stimulate economic growth is being hindered by a significant level of digital exclusion, according to a report by the Communications and Digital Committee. 

The report criticises the government for lacking a credible plan to address this issue and highlights the negative impact on economic growth, public health, and efforts to achieve equality. The rapid shift towards online services and the growing use of machine learning further exacerbate the disadvantage digitally excluded groups face. The report emphasises that digital inclusion requires continuous action, as the digital divide will widen with technological advancements. 

The Committee presents concerning statistics on digital skills and household internet access and calls for urgent government action, including the publication of a new digital inclusion strategy and the establishment of a cross-departmental unit. The recommended strategy addresses the cost of living crisis, invests in basic digital skills, supports community-based digital inclusion hubs, and ensures that predictive machine-learning tools in public services do not further marginalise the digitally excluded. 

The Chair of the Committee emphasises the importance of addressing digital exclusion to effectively compete on the global stage and calls for immediate action to tackle the issue.