• Blackpool tops the table with almost a third of its population (31 per cent) having never used the internet or having not used it in the last three months
  • A number of major UK towns and cities fall below the national average for regular internet use
  • Over five million UK adults (10 per cent) have never used the internet 
  • Judith Donovan CBE: “Big business needs to accept that not everyone is ready or willing to ‘go digital’”

Blackpool is one of the UK’s least connected towns, according to the Keep Me Posted campaign and research from the Office for National Statistics.

The campaign, which fights for consumers’ rights to receive paper bills and statements from their banks, utility companies and telecoms providers, found that a number of UK towns and cities have significantly lower than average internet use. Nearly a third (31 per cent) of Blackpool’s population have either never used the internet or used it more than three months ago.

Other places in the UK where regular internet use is still significantly lower than the national average (13.5 per cent) include Belfast (23.5 per cent) and Liverpool (19.8 per cent).

Recent data demonstrates that almost all of the 16 UK parliamentary constituencies which have ‘lower than acceptable’ broadband levels are in rural areas. This suggests that for the UK cities where large numbers of the population are still not online, it is not due to a lack of availability but more likely an issue of cost, a lack of digital skills or security fears

Least Connected UK Cities

City/Town

Percentage of population who have either never used the internet or used it more than three months ago

Number of population who have either never used the internet orused it more than three months ago

Blackpool

31.0 per cent

36,000

Belfast

23.5 per cent

51,000

Liverpool

19.8 per cent

77,000

Swansea

19.8 per cent

39,000

Sunderland

18.1 per cent

42,000

Birmingham

17.7 per cent

152,000

Luton

17.5 per cent

28,000

Glasgow

16.6 per cent

82,000

Durham

16.2 per cent

68,000

Sheffield

15.7 per cent

72,000

York

14.5 per cent

25,000

Leicester

14.3 per cent

36,000

Plymouth

13.6 per cent

29,000

Judith Donovan CBE, chair of the Keep Me Posted campaign said: “Many assume that a lack of internet use is limited to elderly people or those living in remote rural communities but these statistics show that a significant number of people living in major UK towns and cities are not regularly online.

“Despite these facts, our campaign is increasingly aware of banks, utility providers, telecoms companies and even the Government placing increasing pressure on consumers to manage their affairs online. Big business needs to accept that not everyone is ready or willing to ‘go digital’ and it is important that they do not penalise customers for simply requesting to manage their bills and statements via post.”

One in ten (10 per cent) UK adults (approximately five million people) has never used the internet at all. This equates to 14 per cent of all households in the UK. These figures also are significantly higher for vulnerable people within society such as the elderly (32 per cent) or disabled (34 per cent).

Fourteen per cent of UK adults do not feel comfortable managing their banking online and 12 per cent would not be happy making purchases online, due to security concerns.  These concerns are largely justified, with online banking fraud increasing by 26 per cent in the last year and costing the UK more than £60 million.

Judith Donovan CBE, continued: “Our campaign is fighting to protect the consumer right to choose how you are communicated with by providers. This is even more important when we consider the fact that as many as 2,400 UK bank branches could close over the next five years, leaving people even more cut off from communicating with their provider.”