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Digital Inclusion

Volume 594: debated on Wednesday 25 March 2015

This is a devolved matter but in England and Wales more than 70 public, private and voluntary sector organisations now support activity under the digital inclusion charter, working together to help individuals, small businesses and charities to realise the benefits of being online. Later today the Government will launch the Digital Friends initiative that will call on civil servants to go out into their communities and teach digital skills to friends, family, neighbours, or colleagues who are offline.

The Minister will be aware that, unfortunately, Glasgow has one of the highest levels of population who are offline. The Government have recently run a series of adverts on Glasgow radio stations about encouraging people to switch their electricity and gas suppliers, but they are asking people only to use the online route. What assessment has he made about how we can encourage digital inclusion and the appropriate way to target Government adverts?

As I said, this is a devolved matter. The Scottish Government published their digital participation strategy in April 2014, led by the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop MSP, and supported by a ministerial advisory group.