Martha Lane Fox suffered a big setback in her quest to get Britain online last week, as plans for her “digi-quango” – the Digital Public Service Unit, which would drive more public services online – have been shelved. But you can help.Although Martha Lane Fox’s appointment as “digital champion” was made by the previous Labour government, her role is said to be safe, and she is expected to “advise government on a similar agenda” with a “roving brief across government”. Despite the disappointment, Martha Lane Fox will continue to engage British businesses with her Race Online 2012 campaign, which aims to provide internet access to the entire UK population within two years. Martha Lane Fox, the co-founder of Lastminute.com, has already signed up some 250 corporate partners to the £1.5m Race Online 2012 campaign, including BT, Sky and Google. But Martha Lane Fox wants to engage more small entrepreneurial businesses to help tackle the issue by sharing web skills with those who don’t know how to use the internet. “If you’re a technology company, there may be resources you can donate. If you’re not IT focused, it might be about ensuring all your employees can use the internet to start with, or you could offer a volunteering day to members of staff to go and train members of their family who aren’t online. By building it out slowly, we will crack this problem,” Martha Lane Fox tells the Daily Telegraph. A recent PwC report found that over 10 million adults in the UK have never used the internet. Of that group, which represents 25 per cent of the UK’s adult population, four million are also socially or economically excluded. “It’s a social good, but it’s also good for business. People who can’t use the internet are still consumers,” continues Martha Lane Fox, adding that Race Online’s partnership approach fits in well with David Cameron’s “Big Society” vision. Find out more on how you can get involved with Martha Lane Fox’s Race Online 2012 campaign.
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