Elderly losing out in city with high levels of digital skills

finger on tablet-2A very high proportion of people in  London use the internet but what are they able to do when they are online? 91% of Londoners have at some point accessed the internet according to survey data from the Office for National Statistics, reported by Urbs.  But fewer than that have basic skills it would seem, according to a another survey into digital capability?

The research, commissioned by the charity Go On UK, which aims to improve digital skills in individuals and organisations, shows that Londoners come out on top in the UK,  but 16% would fail to perform 5 basic digital skills.

The charity identified a series of task to define digital skills, from searching for information, to filling out an online form or creating something from online assets.  Those with all 5 are defined as having Basic Digital Skills, those with the first 4 as having Basic Online Skills.

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Graphic: Ipsos for Go On UK

Research company Ipsos carried out face-to-face interviews with 4,167 people nationally, 577 of them in London, to assess skills. 71% nationally possessed all 5 skills; in London it was 84%.

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Map: Ipsos for Go On UK


Looking at the survey results at local authority level saw a high point of 90% in the City of London and above average scores of 88% in Kensington and Chelsea, and 86% in Wandsworth. Seven boroughs had rates below 80% with the lowest recorded in Redbridge, 76% and Newham, 73%.

Across the UK, skill levels in older people are much less common but the decline for those over 45 was much steeper in London than the rest of the country.  While skill levels for groups below 44 are almost identical, in the 65+ age category 43% have the basic digital skills but only 38% in London.

One positive difference between London and the rest of the country is the gender gap, which the survey suggests doesn’t exist in the capital.  In the UK as a whole 80% of men and 74% of women had the basic digital skills. In London it was 84% and 83%.

Access to broadband emerged as a key factor as did ownership of digital devices.  London scores well in both these areas; 93% of respondents in London had broadband access and 94% owned a smartphone.

Source data

See also

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More than half a million Londoners have never used the internet

keyboard close upMore than half a million people in London have never used the internet. But London has the lowest proportion of people who are not online of any region of the country.

These findings are based on data gathered by the Office for National Statistics in the Labour Force Survey. More than 300,000 people took part, 27,000 of them in London. They were asked, “When did you last use the internet?”

8.7% of respondents in London said that they have never used the Internet. That’s equivalent to 586,000 people. The average across all regions of the UK is 11.4%, but in Northern Ireland 18.8% have never been online.

The breakdown shows a clear age factor in non-usage. The majority of those over 75 do not use the Internet. Almost a  quarter of the people aged 65-74 are non-users and 16% of those 60-64. Most people under 60 are internet users and everyone in their 20s has been on the internet.

Internet usage age

There are more women than men in the survey who say they never use the internet; 10.8% compared to 6.5% of men. There is also some variation based on ethnic origin. In London a higher than average proportion of respondents from Chinese and Black, African, Caribbean or Black British backgrounds have never used the Internet. Across the UK people of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin have a lower rate of usage but In London these groups are above average in internet use.

The occupations with the highest level of non-usage are people who work in process, plant and machine operation, followed by those in skilled trades.

People who own their home outright make up a higher proportion of non-users than those with a mortgage or renting.   This may be due to an age factor, as owner-occupiers tend to be older.

Although London as a whole has the lowest regional average there are some areas where the proportion of people who have never been online is higher than the national average. In Haringey it is 13% and in Bexley 14. In contrast only 3% of the population of Lambeth and 2% in Kensington and Chelsea have never been online.

Internet usage

The proportion of Londoners who have never used the internet has come down from 13.9% in 2011 when the ONS started asking this question. As most non-users are elderly people this rate is likely to keep falling as soon the elderly will also be part of a generation to have grown up and worked in a digital world.

Source data

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Feeling secure? City merely moderate for citizen safety, says study

dreamstime_l_29077431How safe is out city? Only moderately so and a lot riskier than those in East Asia and many European capitals, according to research by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Tokyo topped its index of 50 global cities measured by 44 data points, while London trailed in at 18th. Of London’s big global city rivals, New York came 10th and Paris ranked lower in 23rd place.

The EIU Safe Cities Index looked at 4 broad categories – digital security, health security, infrastructure safety and personal safety.

London performed best in the personal safety category where it managed 12th place. Personal safety looked at how secure citizens are from theft and violence. It examined police engagement, crime levels and political stability. 4 of the 5 top places went to Asian cities. Stockholm completed the top 5.

All European cities did poorly in digital security though London was the continent’s best performer in 16th place. This category measured the resources dedicated to ensuring that citizens can use the Internet and other digital technologies without fear of privacy violations or identity theft. Asian cities were, once again, the best performers and North American cities also scored well.

Despite the National Health Service London managed only 22nd place when it came to health security. European cities that also have universal health systems generally performed well in this category, which examined life expectancy, ratios of citizens to hospital beds and doctors, and pollution levels. As previously reported, emission levels and deaths attributed to NO2 remain high in London.

The capital’s worst performance was in infrastructure – the safety of the city’s roads and building and its resilience against disaster – where it came half way down the rankings at 25th.  Among the items measured were the frequency of road accidents and pedestrian safety. While accident rates are falling in London, pedestrians remain the most vulnerable, as previously reported by Urbs.

The EIU chose the 50 cities based on regional representation and the availability of data. The list included 7 from North America, 6 from Latin America, 13 European cities, 18 in Asia Pacific and 6 from the Middle East and Africa, though Johannesburg was the sole African city included.

Safe Cities Index 2015
Overall Digital Health Infrastructure Personal
1 Tokyo Tokyo Zurich Zurich Singapore
2 Singapore Singapore New York Melbourne Osaka
3 Osaka New York Brussels Sydney Tokyo
4 Stockholm Hong Kong Frankfurt Amsterdam Stockholm
5 Amsterdam Osaka Paris Tokyo Taipei
London (18) London (16) London (22) London (25) London (12)

Source data

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People good, infrastructure less so – what foreign business thinks of London

Pin in the london mapForeign owned businesses have a more favourable view on the availability of skilled staff than their UK counterparts when asked their opinions on London as a place to do business. But they are harsher than UK companies in their verdict on the city’s digital infrastructure and the transport links in London and the wider UK.

The opinions are voiced in the London Business Survey which was carried out for the GLA and the London Enterprise Panel and looked at large companies, SMEs and micro-enterprises employing fewer than 10 people, across 12 sectors.

While 7 out of 10 UK-owned companies say London is a good location for skilled staff 8 out of 10 foreign owned companies think that. And they are not quite so negative about the affordabilty of housing and office space with fewer categorising both as poor than UK owners.



But when it comes to the digital infrastructure and communications only half say is its good compared to 68% of UK-owned enterprises. And they are more negative about the transport infrastructure too.


Foreign or joint ownership accounts for 8% of the business units in London. (The survey defines a business unit as a single site location of a business). 25% of larger business units in London are foreign owned. A quarter of the foreign business units are in the finance and insurance sector and most were set up before 2009. Only 13% are defined as start-ups and established since 2012.

The survey also reveals a positive, forward thinking attitude in foreign business owners in London. 85% said their business planned to grow in the next 12 months, compared to 61% of UK-owned enterprises. Half of them were involved in some form of business innovation including new practices, organisation, strategies or processes.

82% of UK-owned business units in London employ fewer than 10 people. Only 61% of foreign-owned business units fall into this smaller category but that still means nearly 22,000 foreign-owned micro-enterprises now operating in the capital.

Source data

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