Financial Services: Older People

Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 12th December 2011.

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Photo of Rory Stewart Rory Stewart Conservative, Penrith and The Border

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to promote financial inclusion for older people living in rural areas who do not have access to the internet.

Photo of Mark Prisk Mark Prisk The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK)—a team within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport—delivers the Government's broadband strategy, bringing superfast broadband to all parts of the UK. BDUK’s main role is to allocate and distribute £530 million of funding to bring superfast broadband to the third of UK homes and businesses which will not be provided for by the broadband market. There are currently nine procurement programmes operating in Cumbria, the Highlands and Islands, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire, North Yorkshire, Lancashire, Rutland, Surrey and Wales.

The Government have allocated £17.13 million to help stimulate broadband private investment in Cumbria and the Cumbria county council is in procurement procedures to select a supplier, or suppliers, to upgrade infrastructure to support improved broadband services.

Race Online 2012 is the Government-supported organisation led by Martha Lane Fox working to encourage everybody in the UK, including older people living in rural areas, to access the internet. Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics estimate that the number of adults in the UK who had never been online fell by 300,000 to 8.43 million in the third quarter of 2011. Race Online 2012 has issued a report “Getting on—a Manifesto for Older People in a Network Nation”. A copy is attached and can be accessed at:

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