Digital poverty charity calls for ‘more action’ from cross-sector bodies

The Digital Poverty Alliance (DPA), a charity coalition of third, public, and private sector organisations, has called for more action from national bodies and local communities to address digital poverty in the UK.

On Monday, the Alliance launched an evidence review at the House of Lords, which found that digital poverty is a “wider issue than just making sure people are ‘online’ or have a computer”.

Instead it explains that widening differences in connection, devices, skills, and experience play a key role in maintaining and exacerbating inequalities.

Dr Kira Allman, author of the review, said that eradicating digital poverty will depend not only on improving digital access and skills among the least connected, but also “on cultivating a digital economy and tech sector underpinned by diversity, inclusivity, accessibility, privacy, safety, fairness and equity”.

“This evidence review offers a much-needed update to our understanding of the factors contributing to digital poverty in today’s pervasively digitised world,” she continued. “It shows that beyond the familiar online-offline divide, digital poverty is also the product of social inequalities that have been built into and exacerbated by the design of technologies and services.”

The DPA’s review builds on previous research that found one in five children who had been home schooled in 2021 did not have access to an appropriate device, around 11 million people in the UK lack the digital skills needed for everyday life, and only 36 per cent of those with no formal educational qualifications use the internet, compared to 95 per cent of those with higher education qualifications.

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