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Technology / Software

Web divide among elderly people between north and south of England

There is a north-south divide amongst the number of over-65s in England when it comes to using the internet, a UK charity has found.

Age UK said older people from Surrey are most likely to be online than people from Tyne and Wear, where only 28% of older people had reported using the internet.

The research, which used data from the Understanding Society study of 40,000 UK households, also revealed that there are only four areas in England where over half of the older people use the internet.

Surrey had the highest proportion with 63%, followed by Bedfordshire with 54%, while Tyne and Water had the lowest with less than 28%.

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David Mortimer, Head of digital inclusion at Age UK, said the reasons behind this divide are wide and varied.

"We know for example that women aged 75 and over who live alone are the most likely group in society to have never been online. In addition, older people with lower economic wealth, those living alone and those in relatively worse health are far less likely to be online," he explained.

"We hope this data will highlight to the government, local authorities and businesses the work that needs to be done across the country to help older people to get online.

"More services from the private and public sectors are moving online in a bid to make significant cost savings. However if they want older people to use these services, they need to help them get online in the first place with tailored and on-going support."

Age UK has launched its annual ITea and Biscuits Week, which enables people who have never been online to try it out.
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