Today the UK Government published their long-awaited digital strategy. In short, to call this a ‘digital strategy for the UK’ is wrong.
While digital inclusion is mentioned, there is no meaningful attempt to address it. Digital poverty is completely absent. This ignores the daily reality for many – that access to the digital world is out of reach. And we know that, increasingly so, that means access to the fundamentals of life is out of reach – from healthcare, to education, training and social security.
The strategy is clear that digital has a clear role to play in levelling up the UK, which it absolutely does. Yet while efforts to build the tech economy are welcome, that’s not going to be enough to make a real impact on the levelling up agenda.
We need to see Government now focus on digital poverty and tackling its fundamental causes. We’re hopeful that a strategy that truly addresses digital in the round will follow – and that it recognises that we can and must end digital poverty if we’re interested in levelling up.
Jen Gracie, Head of Policy and Communications, Digital Poverty Alliance.