MSP warns lack of internet access increases gap between rich and poor during Covid crisis

Almost one in five households in Scotland’s poorest communities have no internet at home while access among households in the richest areas is nearly universal.



a man sitting on a sofa


© Almost one in five households in poorer areas have no internet at home while among richer households…


Ms Boyack said the findings from the Scottish Household Survey underlined the urgent need for the Scottish Government to develop a plan to protect and enhance the quality of life of Scots.

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With many public libraries still closed, along with other public spaces where free internet access is normally available, she said the situation made it more difficult for people in poorer areas to get information,services and goods.

The survey found home internet access for households with an annual income of £10,000 or less was just 65 per cent, compared to 99 per cent of households with an income over £40,000.

Only 82 per cent of households in the 20 per cent most deprived areas in Scotland had internet access at home compared with 96 per cent of households in the 20 per cent least deprived areas.

Some 79 per cent of people in social rented housing had home internet access compared with 91 per cent of home owners.

And older people were less likely to have home internet access, with 43 per cent of over-75s using the internet compared to 99 per cent of 16-24 year-olds.

Ms Boyack, who is Scottish Labour local government spokeswoman, said: “These statistics only go to prove that once again, the most vulnerable are hit hardest by the pandemic, with limited internet access for many.

“Local lockdowns may be necessary but without a plan in place to protect vulnerable members of society, they will serve only to force people further into isolation, loneliness and depression.

“People living in deprived areas and our older generation must not be allowed to become even more cut off from sources of information, online shopping and connections to loved ones and families.

“Scottish Labour is calling for the government to ensure those most likely to be impacted negatively by local lockdowns can maintain a decent quality of life. There must be a plan that ensures everyone can retain periodic access to libraries, or are provided with the means to use the internet.”

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