Using Google leaves one in six without a clue according to survey

An ICM poll commissioned by UK Online Centres, a Government-funded body that proposes IT training courses, yielded out some disturbing figures that highlight the fact that bridging the digital divide in UK could be farther than expected.

The logistics might be there - PC prices have never been so low, Scores of schemes exists to encourage you to become IT literate and surfing the net is being offered as free by some - but the startling truth is that one in five people living in Britain do not own a computer.

One in five Britons aged 18 or more do not know how to use a word processor and a similar percentage find it difficult to send an e-mail

Amongst other highlights of the report are that one in six people are unable to explore the internet using search engines like Google; nearly a third are clueless about Social Networking websites like Facebook and Myspace.

Digital Exclusion, as it is called, means that people lose out financially - they don't know how to use price comparison websites for example - and in jobs prospects, with IT skills being more and more in demand.

And it is often the same group of people that become marginalised and end up being the most socially deprived.