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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London wins plaudits for support of tech sector growth.

City Hall and Tower BridgeLondon has won praise for its “energetic advocacy” of the tech sector and secured second place behind New York in an assessment of initiatives to promote innovation and entrepreneurship among 40 cities globally.

London lost out to its American rival for a lack of leadership and digital capability. There’s no chief technology officer for the city and no consistent digital channel for Londoners to interact with services, which are split across different boroughs.

But the city authorities are praised for support for the Tech City initiative, backing apprenticeships in the tech sector and the Mayor gets a mention for including start-ups on international trade visits, such as the one to Boston in February this year.

The assessment is made in the City Initiatives for Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a project aimed at helping policy makers in cities across the world develop the best strategies to foster new enterprises to deliver jobs and economic growth.


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The researchers looked at three main categories – how open a city is to new business and ideas, how is the infrastructure optimised for business growth, and how a city offers leadership by building innovation into its own activities.

London was the highest overall performer when it came to openness, which considered how the cities operated as regulators of business; how they promoted themselves and their firms; and how they performed as customers through making their procurement processes open to small businesses.

The report says, “High-performing city governments lead by example, by taking a clear view on how they want to support innovation, and then using data and engaging with citizens to do so.

“London only narrowly lost out to New York City at the top of the rankings. It was a consistently strong performer across all areas of analysis, and its silver medal is well deserved.”

The top 5 cities were:

  1. New York
  2. London
  3. Helsinki
  4. Barcelona
  5. Amsterdam

The City Initiatives for Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship is carried out in partnership by NESTA, Accenture and Future Cities Catapult.

Source data

History gives city the edge in adapting to change in future

St paul's domeLondon is the city best equipped to adapt and thrive in a changing world due it its historical commitment to education, technology and openness to the world, according to PwC in it’s Cities of Opportunity report.

London topped the rankings of 30 global cities for the first time, as reported by Urbs. The cities were ranked under 10 different categories that were determined by 59 data points and a survey of 15,000 of PwC’s staff around the globe. The company split the 10 categories into 3 broad areas – Tools for a changing world, Quality of Life and Economics.

London scored particularly well in the first area. This included 3 of the 10 categories – intellectual capital, technology readiness and city gateway. London gained second spot for intellectual capital but was top in the other two.

The criteria for intellectual capital included the literacy and maths skills, the percentage of people in higher education, world rankings for universities, innovation and the entrepreneurial environment. London rose from sixth place last time. It scored highly for the quality of its universities, but lower for maths skills and literacy.

Technology readiness looked at Internet access, broadband quality, software development and the digital economy. London scored highly for software development and moved up from eighth place overall to share the top spot with Seoul.

As a city gateway giving it global access London won convincingly, according to PwC. It seems that all flights, if not all roads, lead to London as it had the highest passenger flows. It also scored highly not just for being connected to the world but as an attractive destination for tourists and workers.

PwC Tools for changing the world – Top 10 cities
Intellectual Capital Technology Readiness City Gateway
1 Paris London/Seoul = 1 London
2 London Beijing
3 San Francisco Stockholm Singapore
4 Stockholm Hong Kong Hong Kong
5 Toronto New York Tokyo
6 New York San Francisco Madrid
7 Los Angeles Los Angeles Paris
8 Sydney Singapore Dubai
9 Chicago Chicago Shanghai
10 Tokyo Tokyo New York

Source data

See also

Economic clout helps London to another global cities crown