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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-08779: Jamie Greene (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 11 April 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to provide impoverished communities with digital skills and learning.

Answered by: Fiona Hyslop 25 April 2017

The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that all of Scotland have the opportunity and ability to access the benefits that the digital world brings. In the last ten years the percentage of Scottish Households who have internet access has increased from 58% to 80%, with significant progress being highlighted amongst poorer communities.

We have developed a cross sector movement of change which includes commercial organisations, Social Landlords and Voluntary organisations working in partnership to help reach those individuals who are not experiencing the benefits that the internet brings. These organisations, along with our vital network of Digital Champions who offer help, encouragement and support to empower people in our marginalised communities to engage with the digital movement.

Most Libraries and Public Buildings in Scotland can now offer free Wi-Fi to members of the public. In addition there are community hubs where citizens are offered training and support to grow their online skills in a safe friendly environment, for example the Wheatley Group “Click and Connect” project which has 68 hubs throughout Scotland. Wider hubs include local food-banks, community centres and local coding clubs, who are often supported through volunteers linked to the SCVO One Digital project, and inter-generational work through schools and youth clubs.