One in five adults in Dumfries and Galloway have never been online
Scotland's rural areas suffer some of the highest digital exclusion across the UK, according to a new heatmap breaking down levels by local authority.
Digital inclusion charity GO ON has released the map with support from the Local Government Association and London School of Economics and Political Science, supported by the BBC.
Seven Scottish local authorities - Dumfries and Galloway, Highland, East Ayrshire, Argyll and Bute, Orkney, Shetland and Eilean Siar - fall within the category indicating the highest likelihood of exclusion. No council in England falls within the category.
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More than one in five adults in Dumfries and Galloway have never been online, while 19 per cent of households in the Western Isles do not receive broadband speeds of at least 2Mbps.
The research found that the highest levels of basic digital skills are found in Greater London (84 per cent), while Scotland and Wales scored 81 per cent and 62 per cent respectively.
North of the border, 700,000 people do not have basic online skills, while 850,000 lack basic digital skills.
Rachel Neaman, Go ON UK CEO, said: “The UK is experiencing a digital skills crisis. 12.6 million adults, 1.2 million small businesses, and over half of all charities lack the basic digital skills needed to succeed in today’s digital age.
“Digital competency is an essential skill for everyone and we believe that - without urgent action - the nation’s lack of Basic Digital Skills will continue to hold back economic growth, productivity and social mobility.”
Eight different metrics were used to calculate the overall likelihood of exclusion. Four of these are digital metrics - infrastructure, access, basic digital skills and basic digital skills used - which have been aggregated to provide a combined digital indicator.
Four are social metrics - age, education, income and health - which were aggregated to create a combined social indicator.
Ellen Helsper, Associate Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science, who developed the methodology behind the map, said: “The Go ON UK Digital Exclusion Heatmap is a wake-up call. It shows clearly how social and digital exclusion are closely related.
“The lack of Basic Digital Skills and access in already disadvantaged areas is likely to lead to an increase in inequality of opportunity around the UK.”
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