THE PIRATE PARTY has hit out at the Government, saying that its professed strategy to provide broadband for all is contradicted by its Digital Economy Act (DEA).
The broadband broadside came after housing minister Grant Shapps pledged to end the 'digital apartheid' that prevents social housing tenants from using the internet.
In a meeting dubbed the 'Digital by Default Summit', Shapps said he was "absolutely convinced the digital agenda is essential" to all those involved in housing the UK's poorest. He also called on landlords to provide better infrastructure for broadband access.
The Pirate Party said that although it welcomes Shapps' comments that "internet connectivity should be a necessity, not a luxury", that "is not reflected in other areas of the Government".
Pirate Party UK leader Loz Kaye told The INQUIRER, "The coalition can not on one hand call the Internet 'the fourth utility', and on the other support legislation like the Digital Economy Act which threatens to cut whole households from the web."
He added, "Digital exclusion will add another layer of poverty to already struggling neighbourhoods in the UK, and cement poor education outcomes. Mr Shapps must set out concrete proposals of how landlords are to be encouraged to help in increasing connectivity, not just appeal to their better nature. Councils, housing associations and government must set digital inclusion at the heart of social housing - which has been undermined by the coalition."
Kaye said that it is also important to increase digital literacy in the UK, and ICT "must be replaced by computer science in our schools", and that "firm commitment [must] be made to keep it in the National Curriculum".
He added, "Ministers have failed to give assurances to that effect, so an entire generation could be left behind in the UK." µ
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