Manchester ranked best city in the UK for digital inclusion

The city of Manchester has been rated the most digitally inclusive in the UK by home services comparison site USwitch. 

Uswitch compiled a ranking of UK cities using the local poverty index ( a score out of 100 based on average employment rate and distribution of wealth) and numbers of digital inclusion hubs and databanks, per 100,000 residents. 

Manchester had the greatest number of digital inclusion hubs and databanks, with scores of 11.2 and 5.6 respectively. Their digital poverty index scored at 59.2, sitting close to the median score of the twenty cities studied.  

The results come two years after Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, established a ‘Digital Inclusion Action Network’ to tackle digital exclusion in the under 25s, over 75s and disabled people. 

Coventry was second best, with a lower digital poverty index of 43.1, indicating better employment and internet access for residents on average, compared to Manchester. 

Meanwhile, London had the most databanks (38), but when compared to its population this is less impressive; amounting to just 0.4 per 100,00 residents. The city ranks 19th in the Uswitch table.

Birmingham is the least digitally inclusive according to Uswitch poverty, with an index of 70.4 and scores of 3.3 and 1.1 on the number of digital inclusion hubs and databanks respectively. 

The full list of results is below: 

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Meeting demands

Uswitch’s mobile expert, Rehan Ali, commented on the research: “Manchester has emerged as the most digitally inclusive location in the UK. The city has identified the demand for digitally inclusive services for its residents that cannot afford mobile data to access digital services or for those who need support with accessing them, due to lack of online skills.” 

They continued: “The research highlights the “urgent need to address digital poverty and ensure that mobile data is readily available for everyone to access basic government, council and financial systems –  regardless of their social class, unemployment status and personal arrangements.” 

Meanwhile, the Communications and Digital Committee found that the UK government currently has ‘no credible strategy’ for tackling digital exclusion across the country and criticised the government’s ‘political lethargy’ in this area. 

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