UK report projects £22 billion impact from digital exclusion

A new report published by the Good Things Foundation in the UK estimates the economic impact of digital inclusion in the UK as £22 billion by the year 2028.  21% of the the UK population lacks at least one Basic Digital Skill and this equates to 11.3 million adults being digitally excluded.  The report suggests that 6.9 million people will remain digitally excluded by 2028.

The economic benefits of being digitally included identified in the report:

  • time savings, in undertaking financial and government transactions online
  • earnings benefit, as people increase their incomes and become more productive
  • employment benefits, increasing the likelihood of employment
  • transaction benefits, cost savings from shopping online
  • communication benefits, keeping in touch with family and friends
  • health cost savings, online support reducing the number of avoidable GP visits
  • digital efficiency savings, using online government services
  • corporate benefits, productivity gains with more digitally proficient staff

The cost of achieving these benefits is estimated at between £42 and £380, depending on the age of the learner, their disability status and previous digital skills level.  This represents a required investment of £1.2 billion over 10 years.  The report concludes by estimating a benefit of £15 for every £1 invested.

There are many parallels for New Zealand.  The Pulse of our Nation report evaluated a number of similar economic studies carried out in the UK over the last decade and using a benefit transfer approach estimated the economic benefit for New Zealand would be around $NZ 1.5 billion per annum for households alone.  We encourage the Government to support a specific New Zealand study to identify the wider economic benefits.