Earlier today, at The Speaker’s House at the Palace of Westminster, we got together with some of our friends to launch a new report – A leading digital nation by 2020 . I loved meeting partners from grassroots communities around the country as well as partners from the private sector, national charities and Government departments. A melting pot of ideas and people very committed to this common vision – an enriching mix of people in a glorious venue.
It was last summer when this journey began, when I was asked a few times by a few different people “how much?” That’s, how much would it cost to help everyone in the UK to get the basic online skills that they need. Martha (Lane Fox) agreed that it was a question worth answering, being the counterfoil to the other question she, Go ON UK, and Booz & Co had answered “£63 billion” to the question “what’s the total potential benefit of the UK becoming a leading digital nation in the global economy?”. The report is a good read and not too long.
We needed some expert help so we commissioned Catherine MacDonald, who had done stints at the National Audit Office and Ernst & Young, to work with us, to consult some key people, and to build a mathematical model where we could test certain assumptions and calculate the investment needed.
It was great that through the consultation, the working group decided we should be ambitious: we wanted to included 100% of the UK population, we wanted them all to become regular internet users with Basic Online Skills, and we wanted this to happen by 2020.
The total investment needed to make this ambition a reality is £875 million.
Having established a price, the report goes on to suggest the investment is split three ways – across the public, private and voluntary and community sectors. That’s £292 million for each sector. Or, £50 million per year, per sector (cash and in-kind) over the 6 years until 2020.
Let’s think about the inputs:
- 11 million – number of people in 2013 who don’t have basic online skills
- £875 million – investment needed to help 100% of the population gain the internet skills they need by 2020
- £292 million – investment split across the three sectors
- £50 million – annual investment over 6 years required from each of the public, private, and voluntary and community sectors
- £47 – £319 – calculated range of costs of intervention per person, depending on people’s historical use of the internet and other considerations
- 89% – percentage of the UK online in 2020 without additional and accelerated investment.
And now, let’s think of the outcomes that will deliver:
- £108 million – estimated savings for the NHS if just 1% of their face-to-face visits were converted to NHS Choices visits
- £1.7 million – Government Digital Service figure on potential savings per annum of a digital by default government
- £560 – potential average of household savings if a family starts to shop and pay bills online
- £63 billion – Booz & Co total figure for the potential benefit of becoming a leading digital nation in the global economy.
I will leave you to read the report, and do your own maths. The report and mathematical model are both on the Tinder Foundation website.
Thank you to The Speaker for having us at his home to launch this important report. Thank you to everyone who has helped us on this journey, especially Go ON UK for their partnership. All we need to do now is agree that we want to make the vision a reality. A vision of 100% of our citizens with Basic Online Skills and the UK as a leading digital nation by 2020. Let’s be ambitious and let’s get on with it. It’s a race we can win.