Elderly in north/south web divide
Internet use among older people in England is subject to a "concerning" north/south divide, a charity has warned.
More than double the number of those aged over 65 use online services in Surrey than in Tyne and Wear, according to analysis by Age UK.
It found only four areas in England where the percentage of old people hooked up to the web outnumbered those who do not use the internet.
David Mortimer, of Age UK, said older people with lower wealth, those living alone and those in relatively worse health are least likely to access internet services.
"It is concerning that in some parts of the country, more than twice as many older people are able to access the benefits of being online than in other areas, particularly as there appears to be a north/south divide around internet use amongst older people," he said.
Age UK has called on the Government, local authorities and businesses to help more older people use the web.
"More services from the private and public sectors are moving online in a bid to make significant cost savings," Mr Mortimer said. "However, if they want older people to use these services, they need to help them get online in the first place with tailored and ongoing support."
Pensioners in Tyne and Wear are least likely to have embraced the digital age, according to the Age UK study.
Only 28% of people in the region aged over 65 report using internet services. This compares with 63% of their counterparts in Surrey - one of the four counties where more older people are online than offline. The other three areas are Suffolk, Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire.
Age UK has urged older people to attend a session during its ITea and Biscuits Week, which offers those who have never been online a chance to try the technology. The charity examined data from the Understanding Society study of 40,000 British households.
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