From education to employment

The Digital Poverty Alliance and Currys host party conference fringe events on digital poverty

laptop with tech images coming out of it

The Digital Poverty Alliance (DPA) chaired the Labour conference fringe event yesterday, following on from their recent Conservative party conference fringe event, both titled “A digital future? A UK wide approach to digital inclusion”, aimed to explore how an inclusive, UK-wide approach to technology is needed.

The events, sponsored by Currys, were designed to address various different themes including tech skills for the future workforce, the role of emerging technologies such as AI and the impact they will have as well as the important steps needed to ensure that technology becomes and remains inclusive, affordable and accessible to everyone in the UK.

Speaking at the conference, Elizabeth Anderson, Interim CEO of the DPA chaired the event, while Moira Thomas, Director of Sustainability and ESG at Currys gave opening remarks. They were joined by Paul Scully, Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy, at the Conservative event and Emily Taylor, COO and Chief Sustainability Officer at Labour Women in Tech, as well as representatives from Tech UK, Scottish Tech Army and Cwmpas.

The DPA and Deloitte’s new report was announced, named Digital Poverty in the UK: A socio-economic assessment of the implications of Digital Poverty in the UK, which details the widespread issue of digital poverty while offering advice and recommendations to stakeholders.

The Deloitte report broke down how digital poverty is affecting different demographics across the UK, finding that 1 in 2 older adults are in digital poverty, women are 14 – 22 per cent more likely to be effected by this issue than men, while 20 per cent of children are estimated to be experiencing some form of digital poverty.

Elizabeth Anderson, Interim CEO of the Digital Poverty Alliance, said:

“The party conferences were designed to bring together leaders, policymakers and stakeholders to discuss what must be done to address the pressing issue of digital poverty. As we action our National Delivery Plan, announced earlier in the year, it is fantastic to see the momentum and support building for such a vital cause, while bringing people together under a shared cause.”

“As our recently announced report outlines, 13-19 million people aged 16+ in the UK are estimated to be in digital poverty and those individuals miss out on huge opportunities from education, to the workplace and all the way through to later in life. The lack of access to both tech skills and tech resources can be detrimental, excluding individuals from many privileges that others enjoy as an everyday norm. While it is great to see support growing, more must be done and a collective effort from all stakeholders is needed to achieve our goal of eradicating digital poverty by 2030, while will ultimately provide benefits to individuals, businesses and the economy.”

Event spokespeople also included Matt Robinson, Head of Regions and Nations at TechUK, Kirsty McIntosh, Head of Partnerships at Scottish Tech Army and Sarah-jane Sewell, Co-Director of Digital Tories at the Conservative conference, while Neil Ross, Associate Director of Policy at TechUK and Jocelle Lovell, Financial Inclusion Project Manager at Cwmpas spoke at the Labour conference.

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