A recent survey has suggested that 16 million people in the UK lack basic online skills, including 4.5million people who are currently in the UK workforce, which could mean businesses are missing out on the potential for billions of pounds more revenue.

The report, conducted by consultancy firm Booz & Company, defines basic skills as using a search engine, sending and receiving emails, completing online applications and accessing information online.

Go ON UK, a charity chaired by the UK digital champion Martha Lane Fox, commissioned the report and the organisation has revealed that it aims to do more to improve digital literacy in the UK by starting with looking at how to improve skills in the workplace.

Martha Lane Fox said:

“We need to make the country fit for purpose through the next decade and ensure everyone and every organisation has basic digital literacy.”

The report predicts that only 33% of small and medium sized companies have a digital presence while just 14% sell their products and services online, which it says potentially, could be costing firms billions of pounds.

Commenting on the figures Annika Small, Chief Executive of the Nominet Trust, said:

“It is shocking that 16 million people don’t have basic skills and there is a lot of work going on to encourage people to use the internet.”

This comes in the wake of the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics, which shows that 7.82 million adults (16%) in the UK have never used the internet.