Digital Poverty

Digital poverty is a term that, during the Covid 19 pandemic, has gained currency and has been identified as being a significant barrier to growth, inclusion and wellbeing that impacts people across all age groups and businesses across all sizes and sectors. Our campaign looks at the negative impact digital poverty has on skills, education, employment, inclusion, health and economic growth. Our campaign aim is to accept nothing less than the ability for all GM residents to access and effectively use digital services and technology for home, health or work needs. By doing this GM – its residents and businesses will grow and prosper so that they can be helped to fully realise their potential.

To better understand this issue read our two most recent features: ‘A 21st Century Problem’ and ‘A 21st Century Solution’

One of the first themes we will be looking at and asking for evidence on is around Place Making, Housing and Planning.

From feedback and evidence we have gathered already we are interested in business views on the following issues connected to digital poverty and its impact on where people live and work both now and in the future. We will be tackling 4 other issues linked to digital poverty over the coming weeks. If you have any other comment or evidence to support our work on this issue that is not covered below please let us know.

  • Working From Home – there are a range of issues and challenges that have risen during lockdown, from the inability to access broadband to physical issues around the suitability of homes for working and/or learning from home. How can future homes be better designed/built to allow easier working/learning from home? How can existing properties be better adapted?

  • Should digital access be enshrined in all future planning considerations and developments?

  • How easy or desirable is it to convert existing homes and workplaces to digital friendly environments? What should these look like for maximum efficiency?

  • Do you believe that the rise in remote working will result in lower demand for city or town centre office space

  • Will there be demand for ‘local’ remote working hubs? High street access points that will solve problems of working from home but still offer a commercial workspace experience and environment.

  • From your businesses’ experience what changes have you made to work patterns, if any? If you have been able to work from home do you see this continuing into the future?

  • What will be the impact upon commercial real estate? With many linked to pension funds, do organisations need to diversify investment portfolios? Will this impact on investment funds for the future?

To have your say on this issue e-mail Director of Policy & Campaigns Chris Fletcher on chris.fletcher@gmchamber.co.uk with the title Digital Poverty.