Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Digital Divide and Jobseekers.

Assembly  equalities minister Jane Hutt, has warned that benefit claimants need help to be given online access or risk losing out financially, a Welsh minister warns.

New Rules have been brought in under Universal  Job Msch which means that claimants have to register on line to receive a Government Identity  Number t which they can then use to log in to enter the Directgov Jobseeker Database

They must then record their activities on this database.

Claimants therefore will need computer regular access to demonstrate they are looking for work or face cuts in benefits but some say it is a luxury they cannot afford.

To some extent Jane Hutt was advertising the fact that millions of pounds of Welsh government and European Union money is being spent trying to help people to use the Internet in local libraries.

But she says the UK government should commit more funds.

The Welsh government is spending nearly £2m a year on a six year long programme to combat digital
Ms Hutt said:

 "We have got to get everyone online and we have got to get the message to the UK government that resources have got to be put into helping people to get online.
We are putting resources into that to help them against a really tough time."

The UK Department for Work and Pensions said the majority of people claiming benefits use the Internet already but support will be given to anyone without IT skills or access to a computer.

But even if people who do not have home access and use Libraries access time is restricted and they may not always find a terminal available when they are there .

In some ways this reflects the attitude of those who devise plans who assume because they are able to use a computer every else can.

The Department of Work and Pension should at any rate have offered to run a day course for those using the new system who were not used to using a computer and provide them with knowledge of how to set this up and use an email account.

There should  also be investigation into academic achievement of school children and their access to a computer at home.

But the assumption because we can use this everyone can extends beyond technology.

When those in power decide to move Hospital facilities believing that because they can drive everyone else can and they can easily travel 30 odd miles to the new facilities they forget how those who do not drive or access to a car wil cope,

When in fact some may to have use two or three modes of public transport for a Hospital appointment..

We are increasingly seeing a divide of those with technology and those (a minority perhaps) who for what ever reason do not have access or knowledge of it.

Jane Hutt, is to congratulated for this but should it be the Assembly that is paying for a scheme that is trying to address a problem that is a result of lack of foresight  of Westminster.


Cibwr said...

There was an excellent scheme in Blackpool, where you went on a week course in the basics of how to use your computer and at the end of the course you took your computer home with you. It was organised by a Blackpool company operating as a computer recycler with European money..... the computers were donated, securely wiped and loaded with linux and a suite of software for the person. Long term support was provided by the organisation, which also ran a cyber cafe. I would suggest that we need similar schemes here to help those without computer access.

Ysbryd Penderyn said...

Your "About me" section is exactly what I feel!...long lost twins? :D