The UK is facing a digital skills gap which could be costing the economy £63bn in lost income each year, according to a new report.
The report, from the Commons Science and Technology Committee, a group of UK MPs, said the lack of skills risks damaging the country’s productivity and competitiveness.
It is thought 12.6 million adults lack basic digital skills, while 5.8 million have never used the internet at all.
“Stubborn digital exclusion and systemic problems” with education and training need to be urgently addressed, the report said.
It urged the government’s digital strategy to be published without delay.
The report found that:
“Digital exclusion has no place in 21st Century Britain,” the Commons Science and Technology Committee said.
“While the government is to be commended for the actions taken so far… stubborn digital exclusion and systemic problems with digital education and training need to be addressed as a matter of urgency in the government’s forthcoming digital strategy,” it continued.
The report calls for businesses to invest more and better training at all levels of education.
“The UK leads Europe on tech, but we need to take concerted action to avoid falling behind. We need to make sure tomorrow’s workforce is leaving school or university with the digital skills that employers need,” said the committee’s chairwoman, Nicole Blackwood.
In response a government spokesperson said: “This government recognises the crucial role digital skills play in our society and economy. Our Digital Strategy, to be published shortly, will set out how we will help employers and individuals access the tools they need to power our digital economy.
“This will make sure we are well placed to remain a tech leader in Europe. We will consider the Select Committee’s report and respond in due course,” they added.