In 2013, Citizens Advice Scotland conducted a survey with Scottish Citizens Advice Bureau clients who sought advice on a benefits issue, to explore their access, ability and desire to use the internet. This report, Internet Access in Glasgow's Deprived Areas is an analysis of the responses from the original 2013 survey from CAB clients in Glasgow.
This analysis produced a number of findings, including:
- 42% of respondents in Glasgow had never used the internet and only just over a quarter had used it often
- Almost half did not have a computer or an internet connection at home
- 35% of the clients surveyed in Glasgow were unable to use a computer at all
- Almost seven in 10 clients would either be unable, or would need help, to claim benefits online.
The report also identifies clear links between age, deprivation and internet use and highlights some of the considerable challenges to increasing digital participation amongst benefit claimants.
We are currently in the process of conducting a follow-up survey that will update the findings contained in Offline and Left Behind in order to gauge if the digital abilities of this cohort has progressed and what barriers, if any, they still encounter in terms of getting online and using the internet. We believe we will be in a position to publish this research later in the autumn and that it will capture the attention of policymakers in both Edinburgh and London, third sector organisations, businesses and individuals.
With the UK Government aiming to have 80% of applications for Universal Credit made online by 2017, the need for a concerted programme of activity to boost the digital skills of this group remains of crucial importance. The new research we aim to publish in the coming months will aid in understanding just how feasible this goal is and what more needs to be done to boost digital participation in Scotland.
If you have any questions about the attached Glasgow research report or about the on-going refresh exercise, please contact Patrick Hogan on 0131 550 1061 or at Patrick.Hogan@cas.org.uk.