Connections For All: Digital & The Right to Choose Webinar

Shadow Secretary to join webinar on human rights impact of scams & digital exclusion on older people

Is the UK’s increasing drive to digital-only communications not only excluding millions of older people but breaching their human rights?

This is one of the many key questions to be debated at the National Pensioners’ Convention (NPC) webinar, “Connections for All: Digital & the Right to Choose” this Friday (12pm-1.30pm), 1st October, to mark UN International Day of Older Persons.

Speakers at the free event will include Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jo Stevens MP; Age UK Charity Director Caroline Abrahams CBE; and retired GP Dr Jennifer Bute. They will discuss why many older people still reject the many benefits of going online, and what might be done by both government and business to ensure they are not excluded from society.

Webinar Chair, Jan Shortt, NPC General Secretary said: “Nearly two million over 75s (Age UK) still don’t use the internet, and many of our NPC members cite fears of scams as much as lack of knowledge, confidence and money as reasons for not going online. But some older people simply don’t want to use the internet, even if they could and had training.

“It is not acceptable to just discount their rights to choose how they stay connected in this increasingly digitalised world, just to suit government and corporate agendas. We need to ensure that businesses, government and even the NHS – which has seen a rise in GP internet video consultations – offer people a choice of ways to communicate, whether this is by telephone, or letter, face to face, or online.

“We should point out that while this debate is happening in an internet webinar due to the restrictions of the pandemic, we will be posting a written report to NPC members who are not online.”

Shadow Culture Secretary Jo Stevens MP told the Labour Party conference on Tuesday (28th) that the government was not doing enough to protect people from scams, and that their new draft Online Safety Bill did not go far enough to tackle the problem* with £2.3billion lost to victims of fraud in England, Wales and Northern Ireland last year.

Age UK research** showed