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November 8, 2012

About 16 million people in UK lack basic online skills: report

The UK economy as a whole could have been £63bn better if the country had achieved global digital leadership in skills and commerce

By CBR Staff Writer

About 16 million people in the UK lack basic online skills, according to a report from consultancy firm Booz & Company.

The report said that the UK economy as a whole could have been £63bn better if the country had achieved global digital leadership in skills and commerce.

According to the report, only one in three currently have a digital presence and just 14% sell their products online.

The report found small and medium businesses in the UK are losing £18.8bn annually as they don’t have websites to sell their products online.

The report was launched by the UK digital champion Martha Lane Fox, who currently chairs a charity called Go On UK which intends improve digital literacy in the country.

The charity is working with businesses that include Lloyds Bank, EE, energy group E.On, the Post Office and the BBC, Age UK and the Big Lottery Fund to train its employees in the four basic skills identified by the report.

Lane Fox said: "We read every day of the huge challenges that the UK faces both economically and socially."

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"We need to make the country fit for purpose through the next decade and ensure everyone and every organisation has basic digital literacy." Lane Fox said.

Lane Fox was quoted by BBC as saying that "If the UK can supercharge itself, it could add a lot of value."

BBC cited latest figures from the Office of National Statistics which say 7.82 million adults (16%) in the UK have never used the internet in 2012, 10% lower than in 2011.

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