Skip to content

Age UK tackles digital exclusion(2)

Published on 19 February 2024 01:57 PM

Everyone should have fair and equal access to services. Age UK is campaigning to make sure everyone can access the services they need - so that being offline doesn't mean being overlooked.

Public services are rapidly 'going digital'. If like 2.7 million older people in the UK you aren't an internet user, it’s becoming harder – and in some cases impossible – to access day-to-day necessities such as banking, making NHS appointments or even just paying for car parking.

But it's not just those who aren't online. Plenty of people would just prefer to handle their finances, their bills or their health matters in person or over the phone. No one should feel forced to perform important tasks online if they don't feel comfortable.

Older people who aren't or choose not to be online are being locked out of essential services. It's discrimination - plain and simple. And it poses real risks to people's health, wellbeing, finances and ability to participate fully in our society.

It’s time to make access to public services fair, for everyone.

Key stats

  • 2.7 million people aged 65 and over do not use the internet – that’s around 1 in 5 of this age group.
  • 69% of people aged 75 and over are not able to complete 8 of the most fundamental tasks required to use the internet safely and successfully.
  • Around 3.4 million people aged 65 and over in the UK don’t use a smartphone. 1.6 million people of the same age don’t use any sort of mobile phone.

Why aren’t more older people online?

  • A lack of skills
  • A lack of trust in the internet
  • A lack of equipment or broadband
  • Cost - particularly in the current climate

Age UK is committed to helping more older people make the most of the digital world through programmes that increase their skills

But there will always be people who don't feel confident - or simply don't want - to use key services like paying their council tax, or booking NHS appointments online. And it's not right that they're not being given another option.

That's why is Age UK is urging the Government to end the discrimination against people for not being online.

What Age UK are calling for

  • All public services, including the NHS, council services and other nationally-provided public services, should be legally required to offer and promote an affordable, easy to access, offline way of reaching and using them.
  • The Government must make sure local Governments receive enough funding to provide offline services.
  • There needs to be much more funding and support to enable people who are not computer users, but who would like to be, to get online.
  • The Government should lead on the development of a long-term, fully-funded national Digital Inclusion Strategy, to support people of all ages who want to go online to do so (the last such strategy was produced in 2014).
  • Banks must accelerate the roll-out of Shared Banking Hubs to meet the high and continuing demand for face-to-face banking services.

  • Request a copy by post

    Write to Freepost Age UK campaigns (no stamp required).