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Report of the Digital Government Review


3. Benefits to the wider economy

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The nature of the Internet as a “public good” is widely recognized, with a wide range of benefits accruing to those accessing the Internet including cheaper shopping, better job prospects and increased opportunities to engage in online communities for social reasons. A PwC report [187] estimated the benefits per person from online shopping at £560 per annum.

The BT report, “Valuing Digital Inclusion” calculates the wider benefits of getting online as £1064 pa for a new user gaining basic online skills.

Multiplying the BT figure by the 6.2 million who would otherwise be digitally excluded leads to benefits of £6.6 Billion per annum.

Of course there will also be benefits to employers, particularly smaller employers and charities. A 2014 survey estimated that a third of SMEs and charities do not have basic online skills” and that only half had a website [188]. Digital inclusion would offer employers much needed digital skills and increasingly productive staff. We have not accounted for this benefit here.

A Booz & Co, Go-ON UK and Martha Lane Fox report [189] report quotes the potential benefits to the UK economy of £63 Billion pa to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) if the UK achieved Digital Leadership by 2011. Providing basic digital skills to everyone is essential to unlock all of these benefits.

These benefits would be widely welcomed and show that the greatest beneficiaries of increasing digital inclusion are individuals and the wider economy. Though these benefits are difficult to quantify and track to justify the funding of the government’s share, they are useful for all stakeholders to understand what is at stake. Increasing the skills of the 10% of the population that are forecast to be digitally excluded provides significant benefits to the wider economy.

[187] “Champion for Digital Inclusion – The Economic Case for Digital Inclusion,” Price Waterhouse Coopers, Oct 2009

[188] “Lloyds Bank 2014 UK Digital Business Index”, Lloyds Bank in association with Accenture and Go-On UK, 2014 available at http://resources.lloydsbank.com/economic-research/uk-business-digital-index-2014/
[189] “This is for Everyone: The Case for Universal Digitisation”, Go On UK & Booz & Co, 2012

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