Skip to content
Please donate

Offline and Overlooked

Everyone should have fair and equal access to services

Age UK is campaigning to make sure everyone can access the services they need - so that being offline doesn't mean being overlooked.

Public services are rapidly 'going digital'. If like 2.3 million older people in the UK you aren't an internet user, it’s becoming harder – and in some cases impossible – to access day-to-day necessities such as banking, making NHS appointments or even just paying for car parking.

But it's not just those who aren't online. Plenty of people would just prefer to handle their finances, their bills or their health matters in person or over the phone. No one should feel forced to perform important tasks online if they don't feel comfortable.

Older people who aren't or choose not to be online are being locked out of essential services. It's discrimination - plain and simple. And it poses real risks to people's health, wellbeing, finances and ability to participate fully in our society.

It’s time to make access to public services fair, for everyone.

Sign the petition

If you or someone you know would like to sign the petition offline you can download a paper copy or request that we send one out. Email or write to Freepost Age UK campaigns (no stamp required). 

Key stats

  • 2.3 million people aged 65 and over do not use the internet – that’s around 1 in 5 of this age group.
  • 4.7 million people aged 65 and over don't have the basic skills to use the internet successfully and safely.
  • Around 3.3 million people aged 65 and over in the UK don’t use a smartphone. 900,000 people of the same age don’t use any sort of mobile phone.

Why aren’t more older people online?

A lack of confidence and skills

A lack of trust in the internet

A lack of equipment or broadband

Cost - particularly in the current climate

Health and accessibility needs

Age UK is committed to helping more older people make the most of the digital world through programmes that increase their skills

But there will always be people who don't feel confident - or simply don't want - to use key services like paying their council tax, or booking NHS appointments online. And it's not right that they're not being given another option.

That's why is Age UK is urging the Government to end the discrimination against people for not being online.

Read our report

Find out more about the situation facing older people who are not online and what we believe needs to be done to help them.

What we're calling for

  • All public services, including the NHS, council services and other nationally-provided public services, must offer and promote an affordable, easy to access, offline way of reaching and using them.
  • The Government must make sure local government receives enough funding to provide offline services.
  • More funding and support provided to enable people who are not computer users, but who would like to be, to get online.
  • The Government should lead on the development of a long-term, fully-funded national Digital Inclusion Strategy, to support people of all ages who want to go online to do so (the last such strategy was produced in 2014).
  • The Government should change the law to require banks to maintain face-to-face services.
  • Banks must accelerate the roll-out of Shared Banking Hubs to meet the high and continuing demand for face-to-face banking services.

Online only – it’s out of line

Let's end the offline penalty for older people.

You might also be interested in

The digital conundrum

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Age UK, examines the many ways older people are being excluded by technology.

Is online banking safe?

Online banking allows you to keep control of your finances from home or whilst you're out and about on your bank's...

Online password security

Setting up strong passwords and using different passwords for different accounts and devices is the simplest and most...

How to download apps

Apps, or applications, are a type of program that you download to your smartphone, tablet or computer. There are...

Share this page

Last updated: Mar 28 2024

Become part of our story

Sign up today

Back to top