MPs warn of consequences of ‘digital skills crisis’

MPs have warned that the UK may potentially be left behind if the Government fails to take action to combat a ‘digital skills crisis’.

A new report by the Science and Technology Committee revealed that 12.6 million UK adults lack basic digital skills, whilst 5.8 million individuals have never used the internet.

The data also revealed that a mere 35% of computer science teachers have a relevant qualification, 22% of IT equipment within schools is ineffective, and that the gap in digital skills costs the UK economy an estimated £63 billion a year in lost income.

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Additionally, the report found that, by 2017, the UK will require an additional 745,000 workers with digital skills and training to meet the rising demand from employers.

The report urges businesses to invest in digital training to increase productivity.

Nicola Blackwood MP, Chair of the Committee, stated: ‘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.’

A Government spokesperson responded: ‘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’.

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