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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Vulnerable Scots face digital exclusion

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Research by Citizens Advice Scotland has shown many of the people it helps lack computer skills

Vulnerable Scots are often unable to use the internet to apply for jobs or benefits.

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has found that a fifth of people who access the service for help never use the internet.

More than half of the 1,200 people questioned said they were unable to apply for jobs or benefits online without help.

The charity has said its findings are concerning because many social security and justice services are now only or mainly accessible online, meaning people are not getting the essential support they need.

CAS policy manager Keith Dryburgh said: “These findings clearly show that many Scottish CAB clients still have difficulty using digital services, either through lack of skills or lack of access. While the research also shows that younger people are more proficient than the older age groups, the general picture remains a concern.

“Although the sample for this survey cannot be said to represent the Scottish population as a whole, it nevertheless indicates that Scotland is not yet at a stage where key services like social security and justice can be moved entirely online without excluding a significant proportion of society from them.”

The research has prompted the charity to call for paper-based systems to be made available as an alternative to online welfare systems.