Digital-only agenda excludes many older people and violates their human rights

NPC urges Digital & Culture Secretary to intervene

Digital-only agenda excludes many older people and violates their human rights

The digital-only drive by many UK organisations breaches the human rights of our oldest citizens who feel increasingly excluded from essential services.

The National Pensioners’ Convention (NPC) believes the issue requires urgent government action and has written to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Rt Hon Oliver Dowden MP.

Jan Shortt, General Secretary of the NPC, the UK’s largest campaign group for older people, said: “Access to information is a human right and those without technology are being excluded by the drive to digitalise everything from essential health services to ticket purchases and everyday milk and goods deliveries. Our research shows that our members are suffering exclusion in many areas through the drive to digital-only services. While this may be worthwhile for businesses, and indeed the government, customer choice does not seem to feature in their decisions.

“We realise that digitalisation is inevitable, but the process by which it takes place can and should be approached differently.”

In a letter to the Secretary of State – copied to the Shadow Secretary, Jo Stevens, and the Minister for Culture and Digital, Caroline Dinenage – the NPC outlines a raft of issues facing older people due to rampant digitalisation that makes few concessions to those who do not have (or do not want) access to the internet, and that may even breach the Equality Act of 2010. This includes the example of the UK’s biggest milk delivery provider moving to digital-only* and forcing thousands of elderly customers to open online accounts or lose the service. (*The NPC can supply details of an 84-year-old member in Kent who fears going online because of scams, and who will lose her milk delivery after 60 years because the provider is going online only).