Housing bosses in Wolverhampton have today warned that thousands of people across the city face being left behind in the digital age unless more is done to help get more people using the internet.
According to figures released by Wolverhampton Homes, the company which manages more than 23,000 homes on behalf of the city council, up to 40%, that’s more than 9,000 council households, don’t have access to the internet – or don’t have the skills they need to get online.
Its Chief Executive, Lesley Roberts, has written to the city’s three MPs asking them to speak with government ministers to make sure that cities like Wolverhampton aren’t left behind in the digital age.
With changes to the benefits system on the horizon, and with the government’s flagship Universal Credit due to arrive in the city in February, those on benefits will have to be online to make claims and receive their benefits.
Lesley Roberts said:
We know that literally thousands of local people could miss out if they’re not online. There are some big issues about affordability but it’s also a skills and confidence problem too. A huge number of people can access the internet through their phones now but we’ve found that lots of people don’t really know how to use them properly. Our big fear is that thousands of local people could be missing out on job opportunities and skills as well as financial savings like accessing better deals on their gas and electricity.”
“There is support out there for council tenants – whether it’s through ourselves or through the council. We just need people to realise how important it is to be online nowadays. It’s not just about playing games or being on Facebook – there are real life changing benefits to being online – and we desperately want to make sure local people don’t miss out”.
Councillor Peter Bilson, Deputy Leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council and Cabinet Member for City Assets echoed the calls for people in the city to get online:
The world is changing so quickly. Being online is going to be increasingly important for people living in Wolverhampton and it’s great to see the council and Wolverhampton Homes raising this issue now, because there is support out there for people who want to get online and improve their computer skills, and what we don’t want to see is people missing out and getting left behind.”
Council tenants looking for help to get online can call 01902 556789 or who need help to do more online visit www.facebook.com/wolveshomes.
- Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 September 2015 11:18
- Published: Tuesday, 15 September 2015 11:17