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November 24, 2015

£14bn economy boost from digital skills investment

News: Savings across the board if government pursues 100% digitally skilled nation.

By Charlotte Henry

The government is being urged to invest in digital skills, after a report commissioned by the Tinder Foundation and Go On UK has revealed that providing training in digital skills could add £14bn to the economy by 2025.

The report found that if the UK were to put £1.65m into digital skills provision and digital services over the course of the next decade, it could actually provide a £14.3bn saving – a benefit of nearly £10 for every £1 invested.

Helen Milner, Chief Executive of Tinder Foundation said: "The UK government needs to set out a bold ambition of reaching a 100% digitally skilled nation, to ensure we are not left behind as other nations make huge strides in supporting their citizens to gain digital skills. The quicker we do this, the bigger the prize for the UK, and our global competitiveness."

12.6m UK adults, almost a quarter of the UK population, do not have basic skills. Training them could provide major economic benefits by increasing workplace efficiency, in addition to saving the time and cost required to complete day-to-day tasks online.

Rachel Neaman, Chief Executive of Go ON UK said: "As we look ahead to the Spending Review, we cannot afford to ignore the direct correlation between Basic Digital Skills and these huge potential savings to UK PLC."

The extra income comes from a variety of sources. Those who have the Basic Digital Skills make fewer visits to a GP. Based on a cost of £45 per GP visit, giving people the digital skills to access health online could provide £121m worth of savings a year by 2025.

They can also boost their earnings by up to 10%, which also adds to the tax revenues brought in by government by £243m, and the increased employment leave could bring in £79m.

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Added communication skills mean the digitally skilled spend more on recreational activities, which could add £415m, while those who shop online can save £143 a year – £796m a year by 2025.

Time is money, and by being able to access services online, those with Basic Digital Skills save 30 hours a year, worth an estimated £1.5bn a year by 2025.

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