Government launches Digital Inclusion Charter header image

The government has launched a new initiative that aims to ensure UK citizens are able to enjoy the full benefits of the internet.

Released to mark the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web this year, the Digital Inclusion Charter has been created to help the 11 million people in Britain who lack basic digital skills and capabilities. It also aims to assist businesses in making the most of the benefits of the web, such as more effective marketing, reaching more customers and making cost savings.

The government stated: "Without [internet] access, skills, motivation and trust people will continue to be digitally excluded, with a real social and human impact; affecting job prospects, health, education and more."

According to the coalition, the goals of the Digital Inclusion Charter can only be achieved by collaboration and a number of organisations have signed up to the initiative. Microsoft, Asda, Shelter, Google, NHS England and the Post Office are just a few of the bodies who will be working on the scheme. 

Together, they aim to have reduced the number of Britons who are offline by 25 per cent in 2016 and to do the same every two years afterwards. If successful, this would mean all of the population will be "digitally capable" by 2020.

Ten key commitments were outlined in the Digital Inclusion Charter including establishing a common definition of basic online skills and capabilities, making things simpler for users who lack basic online skills and capabilities by using a shared language and establishing a national volunteering network of "digital champions" to boost existing networks.

Earlier this year, figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed nearly nine in ten Britons had used the internet at some point in their life. A total of 44.3 million had been online by the end of 2013, which represented growth of 1.2 million on the year before.