To mark London Challenge Poverty Week 2021, Age UK London highlights the number of elderly people in the capital who cannot afford to use the internet.
Recently published research showed that the price of devices and data is a barrier for many older people to access the internet. Among Londoners over 65 who want to use the internet more, one in five said the reason was not a lack of access to broadband or adequate equipment. Over 200,000 elderly Londoners over 75 do not use the internet at all.
Sebastian, an elderly Londoner, told us:
“I have used the internet thanks to the Age UK Child, who has provided me with a laptop. I live alone and have no family in this country, so I have used Facebook to keep in touch. However, I will not be able to afford the internet when the Wi-Fi dongle supplied by Age UK Barnet runs out. ”
London has the highest level of retirement poverty in the country, so cost is a bigger factor than anywhere else in the country.
Age UK London is fighting for swift action to address the deep challenges of digital exclusion affecting the daily lives of thousands of elderly Londoners. More and more services that older people trust are moving online and risk isolating them without internet access.
Abigail Wood, CEO of Age UK London, said:
“Lockdown got some older Londoners going online for the first time or increasing the scope of their digital skills. However, many older Londoners do not use the internet at all, and the cost of equipment and broadband is a significant barrier.
The gap between those with and without Internet access is widening, and the capital risks witnessing a growing digital excluded underclass. ”