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17.09.13

Huge gap in elderly online access could threaten Government digital plans

Campaign group Age UK has highlighted a starting and concerning north-south and class divide in the number of older people using the internet.

Over-65s in Surrey are more than twice as likely to have internet access than those in Tyne & Wear (63% compared to 27.7%).

The charity based the findings on research from the Understanding Society study of 40,000 UK households.

Older people living alone or in poverty are the least likely to use the web.

David Mortimer, of Age UK, said: “It is concerning that in some parts of the country, more than twice as many older people are able to access the benefits of being online than in other areas, particularly as there appears to be a north-south divide.

“More services from the private and public sectors are moving online in a bid to make significant cost savings. However, if they want older people to use these services, they need to help them get online in the first place with tailored and ongoing support.”

There are only four counties in England where more than half of older people go online, all of which are in the south east .

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