Question to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport:
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to establish a mobile national digital technology support force, in partnership with local authorities and the private sector, to assist those who struggle with digital technology, including (1) the elderly, and (2) economically and socially disadvantaged groups.
The Government recognises that, although we live in an increasingly online world, a significant part of the population remains digitally excluded. There are currently no plans to establish a national digital technology support force. There are, however, a number of initiatives that tackle the digital divide in partnership with local authorities and the private sector.
In 2017 the Digital Skills Partnership was established by DCMS to bring together the public, private and third sector to improve digital skills across the spectrum. We have worked closely with Local Enterprise Partnerships and Combined Authorities to establish Local Digital Skills Partnerships in seven regions. These bring together key regional stakeholders to address local digital skills challenges.
The introduction of the Digital Entitlement means that from August 2020, adults with no or low digital skills can undertake new digital qualifications free of charge. The Government also supports the Future Digital Inclusion Programme. Since 2014, the programme has helped over 1.4 million people to gain the digital skills they need for life and work.