Digital champion pledges no one will be left behind in web purge

Simon Quicke

The digital champion has been quick to dampen fears that a massive reduction in the number of government websites will leave those without web access exiled from services.

Martha Lane Fox, the digital champion appointed during the last administration to help get the 10m Britons not online connected to the web, has been reviewing the Directgov activity and has urged cuts in duplication and bureaucracy.

The conclusion of the report, which will be announced later today, will recommend consolidation of numerous sites into a single domain.

Through that domain users would be able to file tax returns, apply for benefits and monitor their payments. The switch to making all those things available via the web is being pushed by Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister.

Maude is on the hunt for savings and has already tightened the screws on government IT suppliers and his latest target is two-fold getting a reduction in the number of websites as well as pushing people away from time consuming form filling.

On the face of it that means that those without web access would by default be exiled from the system.

But on twitter this morning Martha Lane Fox, the digital champion appointed during the last government to get the 10m users not online connected, denied that it would exclude people.

"Is wrong - no one will be left behind," she tweeted in direct response to the coverage of her report..

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