We’ve all seen the rise in ‘types’ of poverty. Food poverty, period poverty, even recently bed poverty. Fundamentally, what they all mean is that people simply don’t have the incomes they need to afford basic necessities.
In a society that believes in justice and compassion, that’s not right. And we know with the cost of living crisis it will only get worse.
More than one in five of the UK population lives in poverty – and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation estimate that a further 600,000 will be pulled into poverty following decisions made as part of the spring statement.
The reality of that is more families using foodbanks, more choosing not to heat their homes and more unable to access essential services.
You’re far less likely to have access to the online world if you’re living on a low income. In fact, the lower your income the less likely it is. That means – increasingly so – not having access to the fundamentals of life. From social security, to healthcare, education and training – critical services are more and more online.
So digital inclusion is no longer something that’s ‘nice to have’ – it’s as essential as access to water and electricity. And being cut off from digital isn’t just an inconvenience – it compounds and exacerbates poverty.
As more people are pulled into poverty in the UK it’s increasingly urgent that we tackle the digital divide. If we want to tackle poverty, it’s a crucial part.
We define digital poverty as the inability to access the online world when and how you need to. That’s no longer something we can ignore if we’re interested in a just society.
Jen Gracie, Head of Policy and Communications, Digital Poverty Alliance.