Lib Dems Call for a Digital Exclusion Champion in Bromley

15 Dec 2022
Lib Dem logo bird projected on blockwork

Bromley Lib Dem Councillors have called on Bromley Council to commit to supporting people who do not have digital access to services. "While it's important to encourage as many residents as possible to use digital services," Cllr Chloe-Jane Ross said, "there must always be offline options for those that can't."

In a formal motion to Bromley Council on Monday 12th December, the Lib Dem group called on the Council to appoint a Digital Exclusion Champion, develop a digital inclusion strategy and to commit to ensuring all council policies give specific consideration to people without digital access. The full text of the motion can be read here.

Cllr Ross explained the reasons behind the motion. "This is about identifying where digital exclusion might be occurring and finding ways to help. It’s about always considering digital inclusion and exclusion when we make decisions, and making reasonable and proportionate allowances. It's about encouraging more residents to use council and contractor digital services, but always having an offline option for those that can’t."

It's estimated that 18% of Londoners lack basic digital skills, and that 10% do not own a smartphone. The main reason for the lack of digital access is older age - and Bromley has a higher than average older population. But poverty is also a major factor and as this unprecedented cost of living crisis continues this is likely to affect more and more people.

In response to the Liberal Democrats' motion the Conservative administration have agreed to refer the issue to a committee to examine how to carry out the group's aspirations and to report back to Council when work is complete.

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