A fifth of Wiganers have never used the internet

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NEARLY a fifth of Wigan residents have never been online, new figures have revealed.

According to digital skills charity Go On UK, 17.4 per cent of adults in the borough have never logged on or directly used the internet.

The figures have been revealed as part of a digital exclusion heatmap created by the charity which highlights the areas where people are most likely to miss out on the digital revolution.

The map shows that overall people in Wigan fall in the middle when it comes to whether exclusion is likely or unlikely and is rescued by figures such as only 7.3 per cent of households are unable to get broadband speeds of more than two megabits.

Where Wigan does fall down, according to the map, is the percentage of those that have never been online and the fact only 74 per cent of people have basic digital skills.

The map also includes a number of social indicators including that 18.1 per cent of Wigan’s population is aged over 65 and that 42.6 per cent of adults have no qualifications or level one qualifications.

Other details revealed include that the average wage in Wigan is £19,000 per year and that 21.5 per cent of the population have a long-term illness or a disability.

Alison Mckenzie-Folan, director for customer transformation at Wigan Council, said: “We have a number of projects ongoing to make sure everyone across the borough can enjoy the power of digital.

“We are currently working with partners on an exciting project which will see fibre optic broadband rolled out across the whole borough and this will enable all residents to access the internet quicker and easier.

“A key aim of our Digital Strategy, which was launched earlier this year, is to encourage digital inclusion for all residents and we have lots of support and help available to develop confidence and motivation for people to access digital services.

“Already thanks to the strategy there have been exciting digital projects and events to tackle issues of digital inclusion, improve the skills of residents and businesses, for example the recent GoFest events at libraries.

“We’ve won the Go On North West partnership award for the work we’re doing across the borough and we were also recently shortlisted for an award which recognised our innovative ways of giving residents access to services online.

To find out more about the strategy, call 01942 489009 or visit wigan.gov.uk.

To view the map, visit go-on.co.uk/resources/heatmap/.