Official: More than 7 million Brits have NEVER accessed the interwebs

Oldsters, disabled and poor all left behind


Brits who are disabled, over the age of 75 or poor are among the vast majority of people living in the UK who make up more than 7 million citizens found to have never been online, official government figures show.

People over the age of 75 are - perhaps unsurprisingly - the age group least likely to have ever accessed the internet with 3.23 million of those UK pensioners remaining completely offline.

That figure was revealed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) this week, with the release of its latest Internet Access Quarterly Update report [PDF] covering the final three months of 2012.

It found that 7.42 million taxpayers in Britain had never accessed the internet, of which 44 per cent of those people were over the age of 75.

The other major group not to have embraced the internet, arguably due to inaccessibility issues, was disabled adults. The ONS said that 3.8 million people over the age of 16 with disabilities - more than half of the 7.42 million figure - had never accessed the internet.

It said:

This indicates that individuals with a disability are just over three times more likely never to have used the internet than individuals with no disability.

The stats also revealed how many people from poorer backgrounds were offline. It found that 300,000 Brits who earned a gross weekly pay that was less than £200 had never accessed the internet.

The ONS added:

Internet use has almost reached full coverage for those earning in excess of £500 a week, with internet use above 98 per cent for all adults with weekly pay rates above this level.

Just over 43 million Blighty citizens are now online, the ONS said. The stats showed that the number of people not accessing the internet had fallen by 9 per cent from the same period a year earlier when it recorded that nearly 8.2 million British citizens had never used the net.

But the figures also continue to demonstrate a major challenge for a government whose agenda is set on making public services "digital by default", even though 15 per cent of the population remains offline.

The debate about social exclusion among those groups who aren't accessing the internet is becoming more prominent because the government is adamant that it can reel in billions of pounds of taxpayer money by putting more public services on to the internet.

The Department for Work and Pensions' Universal Credit project - which has been dogged with personnel problems - will be the first big test of such a system. Britain's benefits process will merge six government handouts into one regular payment that can be claimed and managed online.

While the latest ONS figures reveal that old age and the internet don't exactly mix, another picture is now clearly starting to emerge: Vulnerable groups who are disabled or on low incomes could find themselves frozen out of the benefits system if they don't embrace the internet - however inaccessible or costly it might prove to be to those Brits. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • It's one thing to have the world in your hands – what are you going to do with it?

    Google won the patent battle against ART+COM, but we were left with little more than a toy

    Column I used to think technology could change the world. Google's vision is different: it just wants you to sort of play with the world. That's fun, but it's not as powerful as it could be.

    Despite the fact that it often gives me a stomach-churning sense of motion sickness, I've been spending quite a bit of time lately fully immersed in Google Earth VR. Pop down inside a major city centre – Sydney, San Francisco or London – and the intense data-gathering work performed by Google's global fleet of scanning vehicles shows up in eye-popping detail.

    Buildings are rendered photorealistically, using the mathematics of photogrammetry to extrude three-dimensional solids from multiple two-dimensional images. Trees resolve across successive passes from childlike lollipops into complex textured forms. Yet what should feel absolutely real seems exactly the opposite – leaving me cold, as though I've stumbled onto a global-scale miniature train set, built by someone with too much time on their hands. What good is it, really?

    Continue reading
  • Why Cloud First should not have to mean Cloud Everywhere

    HPE urges 'consciously hybrid' strategy for UK public sector

    Sponsored In 2013, the UK government heralded Cloud First, a ground-breaking strategy to drive cloud adoption across the public sector. Eight years on, and much of UK public sector IT still runs on-premises - and all too often - on obsolete technologies.

    Today the government‘s message boils down to “cloud first, if you can” - perhaps in recognition that modernising complex legacy systems is hard. But in the private sector today, enterprises are typically mixing and matching cloud and on-premises infrastructure, according to the best business fit for their needs.

    The UK government should also adopt a “consciously hybrid” approach, according to HPE, The global technology company is calling for the entire IT industry to step up so that the public sector can modernise where needed and keep up with innovation: “We’re calling for a collective IT industry response to the problem,” says Russell MacDonald, HPE strategic advisor to the public sector.

    Continue reading
  • A Raspberry Pi HAT for the Lego Technic fan

    Sneaking in programming under the guise of plastic bricks

    There is good news for the intersection of Lego and Raspberry Pi fans today, as a new HAT (the delightfully named Hardware Attached on Top) will be unveiled for the diminutive computer to control Technic motors and sensors.

    Using a Pi to process sensor readings and manage motors has been a thing since the inception of the computer, and users (including ourselves) have long made use of the General Purpose Input / Output (GPIO) pins that have been a feature of the hardware for all manner of projects.

    However, not all users are entirely happy with breadboards and jumpers. Lego, familiar to many a builder thanks to lines such as its Mindstorms range, recently introduced the Education SPIKE Prime set, aimed at the classroom.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021