The Digital Poverty Alliance (DPA) launched its National Delivery Plan during an event at the House of Lords in London yesterday. The strategy’s ambition is to end digital poverty in the UK by 2030.
Taking a phased approach which will be reviewed every year, the National Delivery Plan sets out a roadmap which government, industry, and local communities can use and collaborate on to alleviate the challenges of digital poverty.
The six core missions of the National Delivery Plan are:
- Increase awareness across society about the need for sustainable and strategic action to end digital poverty.
- Ensure affordable connectivity and guarantee full digital access for those in need on a sustainable basis.
- Improve standards of accessibility, safety, and inclusiveness across all digital products and services.
- By 2030, significantly reduce the proportion of individuals without essential digital skills and ensure the sustainability and expansion of these skills in response to changing technologies and needs.
- Enhance knowledge and understanding of digital poverty among all stakeholders, including citizens, governments, and the public and private sectors, through the development and utilisation of research.
- Increase local capacity to provide joined-up digital inclusion support to individuals and communities.
The DPA highlighted the timeliness of the plan’s launch with the upcoming General Election and the importance of raising the profile of digital poverty. The strategy also includes a call to the UK Government to create a new digital inclusion strategy (the previous strategy having been released in 2014).
Other key action points are laid out in the National Delivery Plan including calls for a guarantee of access to free devices and connectivity for those at risk of digital exclusion; more action on access to social tariffs; a suggestion of a jointly funded, industry-wide social tariffs; and a proposal to cut the VAT rate charged on broadband and mobile bills to five percent, thus recognising connectivity as an essential utility.
Paul Finnis, CEO of the Digital Poverty Alliance and the Learning Foundation said: “The National Delivery Plan is a unique and revolutionary strategy to tackle the issue of digital poverty, calling on an urgent and collaborative effort between the Digital Poverty Alliance, government, industry leaders, and community organisations…This flagship strategy set out by the DPA is designed to have a tangible impact on those most impacted by a lack of essential access to the digital world and the alliance is committed to delivering this support alongside our partners and fellow community.”
Paula Coughlan, Chief People, Communications and Sustainability Officer at Currys plc (one of the founding partners of the DPA) said: “At Currys we believe in the power of technology to improve lives. With digitisation continuing to flourish – bringing great advantages to individuals, communities, and businesses – digital inclusion is no longer a ‘nice to have’, it’s an essential, for everyone.”
Strategies for promoting digital inclusion and bridging the digital divide will be a key theme at Connected Britain 2023. Join us for the UK’s most important connectivity event, taking place at the London ExCeL on 20 and 21 September.