June 18, 2024

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House of Lords criticise Government response to digital exclusion report

2 min read

The House of Lords Communications and Digital Committees has criticised the government’s response to their digital exclusion report as the government highlighted they would not be creating a new strategy to address digital exclusion within the UK.

The response to the Committees recommendations has been described as lacking ambition and failing to engage with the concerns raised by the Committee’s inquiry and subsequent report. A UK Government digital inclusion strategy was last created in 2014, but the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology has indicated limited appetite for a new strategy.

Broadly, the government has expressed that the principles from the latest strategy are still correct, that they are not keen on setting up a dedicated digital inclusion unit within Government and are not supportive of VAT removal on social tariffs or the removal of VAT on wholesale broadband.

Additionally, the government indicated that it did not plan to give Ofcom powers to ensure social tariffs are appropriately promoted, embedding digital skills targets across education life stages and expanding internet voucher schemes to more people in need.

There has been a commitment to setting up a cross-ministerial committee, involving all the major government departments that are looking at digital inclusion while a review into what government departments, particularly DSIT, can do in terms of device donations has been agreed.

Elizabeth Anderson, Interim CEO of Digital Poverty Alliance, said: “When we look at statistics that highlight 13 – 19 million people over the age of 16 are experiencing some form of digital poverty, while it is estimated that 20 per cent of children are in digital poverty, it is disappointing to see that there will be no new strategy to address this growingly urgent issue as more essential services – from homework to welfare services – move online only.

“It is positive to see the creation of a cross-ministerial committee and we will be…

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2023-10-21 06:28:47

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