The Digital Divide in London

Whats the impact?

Okay so there is a generational gap, however it is clear that the collaboration of the two tribes should create for a more productive co-existence. However in the UK this is not the case, why?

Here are the hard facts: (as presented on
– 5.9 million adults in the UK have never used the internet
– There are 4.1 million adults living in social housing that are offline
– 27% of disabled adults (3.3 million) have never used the internet
– 75% – 90% of jobs require some level of digital literacy
– Offline households are missing out on estimated savings of £560 yearly by missing out on online payment services

The digital divide matters because the impact is not only felt on individual lives but on families, communities, political processes, democracy, public services and the economic and social health of the population as a whole, according to  research shows a clear correlation between digital exclusion and social exclusion placing those already at a disadvantage becoming further disadvantaged as they arguably have the most to gain from the digital world.

The barriers faced in the UK to bridging the gap is the following:
– Access
– Motivation
– Skills and confidence

Martha lane Fox, co-founder of last and Digital Inclusion Champion of Britain had the following to say about the divide:

“What we can be sure of is that 10 million people have never used the internet and of those, 4 million are the most economically disadvantaged, and they’re the people that I was asked by the government to look at. I believe there is a digital divide, but even worse than that we are creating a social and digital divide for the people that are already the most excluded, but yes I think we can really do something about it and the time is now to do that, to get political momentum, bring together all of the projects that are happening all over the country People’s feelings of loneliness go down by 80% when they’re online and their confidence goes up by 60%. When you are talking about some of the most disenfranchised and excluded groups in society; those are interesting and important numbers”

The Hackney Council released a report in 2012 claiming that one in four of hackney residents have never used the internet in their lives. The report showed that 26% of Hackney’s population (making up of about 47000 people) with majority of them being older, disabled, on low incomes, on benefits or in social housing.

The report found that motivation is the main barrier to digital inclusion with half of those without internet access saying that they do not need internet.

So how can a healthy co-exsistence work with an unmotivated party?

One initiative that impressed Martha Iane fox was the ‘Adopt a care home’. The initiative encourages digital natives from colleges, schools and other groups to help residents in the care home get online. So far, almost 40 care homes have been adopted but more than 100 are expected to have signed up by the end of the year. “Now the new [school] term has started the level of  interest is just amazing,” says Bashford.
“And the beauty of it is that it is sustainable. There’ll always be a new year 7.”