To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to respond to the report by Friends, Family and Travellers, Digital Exclusion in Gypsy and Traveller communities in the United Kingdom, published in September.
We are committed to tackling digital exclusion and the UK Digital Strategy, published in March 2017, describes the steps we are taking across government, including establishing the Digital Skills Partnership, which brings together stakeholders from the private, public and charity sectors to join efforts to help people increase their digital skills at all levels; introducing fully-funded basic digital skills training for adults lacking these vital skills from 2020; and using the 3000 libraries across England to provide a trusted network of accessible locations with trained staff and volunteers, free Wi-Fi, computers, and other technology as well as Assisted Digital access to a wide range of digital public services where individuals are unable for whatever reason to access these services independently.
The Race Disparity Audit showed us Roma, Gypsy and Traveller communities are amongst the most disadvantaged in British society and we agree that more needs to be done to make sure nobody is excluded or left behind.
The Government funds the Future Digital Inclusion programme managed by the Good Things Foundation and delivered through the 3,000 strong Online Centres network. To date this programme has supported over 800,000 adult learners to develop their basic digital skills, many of whom are socially excluded.
The NHS Digital Widening Digital Participation programme, delivered in partnership with Good Things Foundation, develops projects that enable people in England to improve their digital health skills and to increase their access to digital services and tools that support their health and care. Partnership working is at the heart of this programme. In order to better understand the needs of those with low literacy (including low health & digital literacy), NHS Digital regularly works with national and local organisations who know them best and really understand the barriers and challenges for them with getting online.
The UK Digital Strategy, published in 2017, states that one of the Government's objectives is to 'enable people in every part of society - irrespective of age, gender, physical ability, ethnicity, health conditions, or socio-economic status - to access the opportunities of the internet', and to deliver this, the Government will focus on 'ensuring that we continue to tackle the root causes of digital exclusion and that everyone can increase their digital capability to make the most of the digital world.'