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Creating an inclusive digital world
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Geography, background or ability should not be a barrier to getting online.

An ambition to achieve ”world leading" levels of digital inclusion is at the heart of plans to equip Scotland for the technological transformation of the post-coronavirus (COVID-19) world.

The updated Digital Strategy, developed by the Scottish Government and COSLA with the help of the Improvement Service (IS) and Local Government Digital Office, and in consultation with business and the third sector, also highlights a shared commitment to deliver digital public services that are accessible to all and simple to use.

On the economy, it recognises the potential for technology and digital ways of working to support Scotland’s post-pandemic recovery and its environmental targets.

Setting out the vision for every business to become a digital business, the strategy makes clear that improved digital education for children and continued upskilling of the existing workforce will be crucial if Scotland is to keep pace internationally.

The strategy also aims to support the success of Scotland's tech industry as an innovative and global player, fostering a network of digital and data talent and attracting inward investment.

Innovation Minister Ivan McKee said:

"Digital technology is a source of incredible opportunity – to open new markets, work in new ways, tackle climate change and make links across the globe. The pandemic reminds us every day that access to the internet is an essential lifeline and I’m determined to ensure that no one is left behind.

"Progress has been made to address this with Connecting Scotland bringing 55,000 people online by the end of this year. Now we want to go further and achieve world-leading levels of inclusion – as part of an ethical digital nation in which everybody has the skills, connectivity and devices required to reap the benefits of technology.

“The response to the pandemic has seen the public and private sectors deliver new services online and at speed. We’ll build on that momentum to support Scotland’s people and its businesses to thrive in the digital world.”

COSLA resources spokeswoman Gail MacGregor said:

"Digital technologies are changing the way we live our daily lives. The Digital Strategy for Scotland sets out an ambitious vision of a Scotland where everyone has the necessary skills and connectivity to thrive and where technology is used to improve access to services designed around the needs of people.

“The response to the pandemic has sped up the pace of digital transformation and has demonstrated the progress that can be made when we work together. Local Government will continue to take on a leadership role in achieving this shared vision of an open and inclusive digital Scotland where no one is left behind."

Dr Sarah Gadsden, Chief Executive, Improvement Service said:

"Whilst digital technology is an already recognised source of incredible opportunity, it brings new challenges too. Collaboration and joint working to seize the opportunities and tackle the challenges ahead will be more important than ever before. We are fully committed to play a key role in delivering the strategy and converting it into practice, working alongside our partners in the Local Government family and beyond.”