Digital Trans
The Digital Poverty Alliance has called for collective actions to enhance digital skills as 19 million British youths, especially unemployed people say they have experienced digital poverty in some form. Unsplash

A new report prepared by Deloitte shed light on the growing problem of digital poverty in the UK as many young Brits under the age of 16 are experiencing it.

The report titled "Digital Poverty in the UK: A Socio-economic Assessment of the Implications of Digital Poverty in the UK" analysed the scale and impact of digital poverty in the country, especially in the present cost-of-living crisis scenario.

According to this report by the Digital Poverty Alliance (DPA) and Deloitte 19 million British youths have experienced digital poverty in some form.

The DPA report seeks to analyse the situation and its socio-economic impacts to address the issue. According to the report, one in two people living in DE households in the UK are employed in semi-skilled or unskilled jobs and they face digital poverty.

The results from the report showed the extent of the problem as unemployed British youths were found to be more prone (2 to 3 times) to digital poverty. This comes at a time when the UK government has announced an employment support scheme for 30,000 economically inactive youths amidst the cost-of-living crisis.

According to the research estimate made by DPA and Deloitte, reducing digital poverty by enhancing digital skills would be beneficial for both the UK government and UK businesses along with individuals.

An estimated £17 billion in additional earnings could be added collectively to individuals by improving digital skills.

Upskilling with the necessary digital skills will reduce social exclusion and help create £2 billion in welfare benefits for individuals, says the report. Furthermore, digital poverty-tackling measures have the potential to save £1 billion for the NHS through GP practices alone.

According to the report, improved digital access could enhance health literacy in the UK and lower the mortality rate in the above 65 age group. An estimated 24000 lives could be saved every year in this way.

The data also highlighted how 18 to 34-year-olds were more prone to digital poverty than 35 to 55-year-olds. Also, digital poverty was found to be higher in women than men.

In terms of digital connectivity, devices and participation gaps, Northern Ireland and Scotland were the most affected. In contrast Wales and Northern Ireland are the worst in digital skill gaps.

Call for collective actions to end digital poverty

Speaking about the Digital Poverty Alliance report, the Interim CEO of DPA Elizabeth Anderson said that the organisation was delighted to work with Deloitte to put the spotlight on the issue.

According to Anderson, the DPA report highlights the widespread nature of digital poverty in the UK and the necessity of addressing it.

Anderson elaborated on how digital poverty affects people as it can harm individuals at any age, from child education to the elderly struggling to access services like online banking.

Anderson underlined the DPA's goal of ending digital poverty by 2030 and how this report will help bring the government, UK businesses and stakeholders together for the purpose.

The report highlights the positive impacts of a digitally inclusive nation and provides a detailed insight on how to achieve that, Anderson added.

According to Anderson, to end digital poverty in the UK collective actions are needed and the DPA was glad to help in the process through this report.

An economic advisory partner at Deloitte, Andrew Tong termed digital poverty "a pervasive issue" that affects all, not just the elderly who are unable to keep pace with technological advancements or have acute affordability issues. People of all socio-economic backgrounds and ages suffer from this, said Tong.

Tong drew attention to the eight priority areas to improve the digital poverty condition across the UK in all sectors.

Earlier this year, the DPA launched the National Delivery Plan which put forward six missions to end digital poverty by 2039 and this report builds on that. The statistics on the DPA report provide evidential support to DPA's goal.