13th November 2012
PM Salutes Go ON UK
16 million people don’t have the Basic Online Skills to send an email, use Google or buy their shopping online. Last week, we challenged the nation to do something about it.
So far, we’ve received a terrific response. Go ON UK Founders have committed to using their collective expertise and networks to help build online skills at work and in the community and have called on the rest of the nation to join them.
The Prime Minister was quick to lend his support: “'I warmly welcome this important initiative to help equip the UK with the digital skills that the country needs. It is fantastic that so many leading companies and organisations have come together to help drive this agenda, and I salute all the hard work and creativity that has gone into making this project a reality. It’s so important that Britain takes full advantage of the economic and social potential of the digital age, and I am determined to make sure the Government plays its part in promoting digital literacy throughout the country.”
We also published a report from consultants Booz & Company revealing that the lack of digital skills was a major reason for the UK missing out last year on £63 billion uplift in growth. The UK needs to balance the drive for superfast broadband with ensuring that everyone has the skills to access and use the internet.
Labour’s Chi Onwurah, Shadow Minister for Innovation and Digital Infrastructure, picked up on this, saying: “This welcome report demonstrates the value to both the UK economy and society more generally of One Nation broadband – getting the country online. The Government needs to do more to deliver universal access to broadband more quickly and address the economic and skills barriers holding back sections of our population. Then we will all reap the rewards of an online nation…”
Former Labour Schools Minister Lord Jim Knight, now Chair of Online Centres Foundation emphasised the importance of acting now, saying: "We are close to being on the wrong side of the global digital divide and too many in our country are denied access to cheaper and better digital services. We urgently need to re-imagine government, charity and business services so we can lead the world in doing more for less by doing it digitally."
Among our Founders, Eva Eisenschimmel, Group Marketing and Brands Director at Lloyds Banking Group, spoke of the group’s commitment to helping all employees access digital skills, and extending that offer to four friends and family each – reaching up to 400,000 people. Dido Harding, TalkTalk CEO, also spoke of the need to give SMEs “the skills to get online and start connecting with customers and employees.”
Other important reactions included Annika Small, Director of Nominet who described the fact that 16million people lack Basic Online Skills as ‘shocking’.
We received a smorgasbord of good coverage across radio, print and online media. Here are the highlights:
- Telegraph.co.uk twice! "Poor web skills costing UK businesses £19billion per year" and "Businesses hit the digital divide"
- Daily Express
- London Evening Standard
- BBC Radio 4
- BBC Radio 5 Live
- Radio Wales