End Digital Discrimination
Published on 16 January 2024 03:31 PM
Age UK Cambridgeshire and Peterborough has joined our national partner charity, Age UK, in the campaign, Offline and Overlooked. The campaign petition is calling on the Government to ensure that everyone has a choice to be able to access and use public services offline (by phone, letter, or face to face) as well as an online digital route.
Offline and Overlooked
Full details are below and remember to please sign the petition and share with others.
In an era where public services are rapidly embracing digitalization, Age UK, the national charity for older people, is leading a crucial initiative to ensure that no one is left behind. With 2.7 million older individuals in the UK not using the internet, the push towards digital services is creating barriers for accessing everyday necessities, from banking to making NHS appointments and even paying for car parking.
This shift not only affects those who are not online but also individuals who prefer traditional methods for handling finances, bills, or health matters. No one should be coerced into performing essential tasks online if they are not comfortable doing so.
For older people choosing to stay offline, or those who lack the skills, trust, equipment, or broadband access, the consequences are tangible. Age UK contends that this is a form of discrimination, hindering individuals' health, well-being, finances, and overall ability to participate fully in society.
Signing the Petition for Equal Access
Age UK is calling on the public to sign their petition, advocating for fair access to public services for everyone. The charity believes it's time to address the digital gap and eliminate discrimination against those who choose not to be online or lack the skills and resources. To sign the petition, individuals can visit Age UK's website or, for those who prefer offline methods, download a paper copy or request one by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or writing to Freepost Age UK campaigns (no stamp required).
Challenges Faced by Older Individuals
Age UK acknowledges the challenges faced by older individuals, such as a lack of skills, distrust in the internet, inadequate equipment or broadband, and financial constraints. The organisation is committed to helping older people embrace the digital world through skill-building programs but recognises that not everyone may feel confident or willing to use online services.
Age UK's Call to Action
Age UK is urging the government to take decisive action against digital discrimination. The charity is proposing the following:
- Legally requiring all public services, including the NHS and council services, to offer and promote an affordable, easy-to-access offline alternative.
- Ensuring that local governments receive sufficient funding to provide offline services.
- Allocating more funding and support to facilitate the transition for individuals who are not computer users but wish to be.
- Championing the development of a comprehensive, fully-funded national Digital Inclusion Strategy, supporting people of all ages who aspire to go online (with the last such strategy dating back to 2014).
- Urging banks to expedite the rollout of Shared Banking Hubs to meet the high and ongoing demand for face-to-face banking services.
By signing the petition, individuals can contribute to Age UK's mission to bridge the digital divide and make access to public services fair and inclusive for everyone, regardless of their digital preferences or capabilities. It's time to ensure that no one is left behind in our rapidly evolving digital society.
On the Radio
Listen to Melanie Pittock, CEO, talk to local radio about the campaign and hear Richard explain what happened to him.