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Digital Technology: Disadvantaged

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 78401, tabled on 19 November 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions her Department has had with local authorities in the North East on how to provide targeted support to disadvantaged and socially excluded groups who are most likely to experience digital exclusion.

Answered on

29 November 2021

The Government, industry and the third sector are working closely together to ensure the UK has the digital skills it requires for life and for work.

DCMS officials recently held a roundtable with local stakeholders in the North East to share insights on how to support access into the digital sector locally. We recently published a report using the findings from the roundtable, which provides suggestions on how to further help level up the North East’s digital ecosystem.

To help support those with learning disabilities, the Digital Lifeline fund provides tablets, data and free digital support to over 5,000 people with learning disabilities who would otherwise find it difficult to get online. In the North East, 387 people received devices and data as part of the Digital Lifeline between February 2021 and October 2021.

DCMS has had initial discussions with the North East LEP who have expressed an interest in setting up a regional digital skills partnership. Such a partnership would bring together local cross-sector partners to design, develop and coordinate the delivery of digital skills programmes to upskill the current workforce, tackle digital exclusion and raise awareness of the importance of digital skills regionally.