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Volume 505: debated on Wednesday 10 February 2010

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what targets the Government have to reduce digital exclusion by giving people access to online services. (315319)

Government have in place a number of targets to reduce digital exclusion by giving people access to online services.

1. Through the Smarter Government programme, Government’s aim is to have 100 per cent. of its services online by 2014. We also announced in November, as part of Smarter Government, that we will be giving UK online centres a further £30 million to get one million people online.

2. Starting in 2010, the Government’s Home Access programme (£300 million), children at key stages 2 and 3 who are eligible for free school meals will also be eligible for a home access grant. This will provide a free computer and one year’s internet use. The aim is to help over 270,000 households by March 2011.

3. We are working closely with Martha Lane Fox, the champion for digital inclusion, who is also a member of the consortium for the promotion of digital participation through her “Race Online 2012” campaign, for six million people who are both digitally and socially excluded to get online by 2012.

4. The national plan for digital participation which will be launched in March will announce further figures to encourage the remaining 30 per cent. of the population to get online.

5. Accessibility is a key issue for this Government. Websites owned by central Government Departments must be Double-A conformant by December 2009. This includes websites due to converge on Directgov or BusinessLink, unless convergence is scheduled before this date. Websites owned by central Government Executive Agencies and non-departmental public bodies must conform by March 2011.