16 million people in the UK lack basic online skills

A report released by consultancy firm Booz & Company has found that an estimated 16 million people in the UK ‘lack basic online skills’ - the ability to use email, fill in an online application, use a search engine and access information on the web. 4.5 million of the group are currently in the workplace.

The study, which was commissioned by digital literacy charity Go ON UK, also asserted that the deficiency in web ability has led to a £63 billion loss in potential revenue for the UK.

This is in part due to the inability of companies to better exploit their online resources, as only a third of them have a presence on the web and just 14 per cent of those sites allow for retail. Booz & Company says that UK enterprise is missing out on £18.8 billion annual turnover because of this.

Martha Lane Fox, chairwoman of Go ON UK believes that the “extraordinary network of partnerships,” which include Age UK, BBC, Big Lottery Fund, EE, E.ON, Lloyds Banking Group, the Post Office and TalkTalk, can help address this issue as each company has already pledged to train its employees in the four basic skills identified in the report.

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