The Minimum Digital Living Standard report, unveiled this week, casts a spotlight on the digital inclusion challenges within the UK. Led by Professor Simeon Yates, an authority from the University of Liverpool and an Ambassador for the Digital Poverty Alliance, the research underpinning the report was conducted in collaboration with Loughborough University and the Good Things Foundation. With the Digital Poverty Alliance also contributing as part of the advisory group, this study represents a significant endeavour towards understanding and tackling digital poverty.

Surveying over 1,500 households, the study discovered that nearly half (45%) of households with children do not meet the established digital living standard. This shortcoming is primarily attributed to financial barriers, with Ofcom revealing that 28% of households struggle to afford broadband and communication services.

The research emphasises the critical need for a unified effort to promote digital inclusion, urging the combined action of the public, private, and third sectors. It uncovers that a significant portion of these households, nearly four in ten (38%), lack fundamental online skills. Among these, 17% of parents are unable to perform basic digital tasks, such as setting up an email account or executing online transactions.

Under Prof Yates’s leadership, the report presents a comprehensive overview of the digital divide, underlining the necessity for strategies that not only improve access to digital tools and services but also cultivate the essential skills for effective use. By detailing the extent of digital exclusion and proposing a roadmap for improvement, the study acts as a crucial call to action for stakeholders across all sectors to strive towards a more digitally inclusive society.

Joel Tiller, Head of Policy and Insights