Hundreds of Halton residents are set to receive free tablets, internet access and on-line training as new figures revealed more than a third of people in the borough have poor digital skills.

The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority is running the scheme, which is part of the Digital Inclusion Initiative - a five-year project involving local authorities, and the community, voluntary and private sectors - all designed to help tackle the 'digital divide' across the UK.

Working with Lloyds Bank and Vodafone, roll-out will start with  tablets and training being delivered to local people who are unemployed or economically inactive.

Over the next year, 4,750 tablets, training and mobile internet access will be provided to people who are digitally excluded across the city region. This will include more than 500 across Halton.

Data from Lloyds Banking Group’s 2022 Essential Digital Skills Survey estimates 37% of Halton residents have ‘low or very low’ digital skills.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: "The last few years have accelerated the move towards a more digital world and proved how important connectivity and technology will be in all our lives. However, there are still too many people in our area who are excluded for a variety of reasons - and struggle to navigate through the digital world."

People will be referred on to the initial pilot from the Department of Work and Pensions Restart Scheme and the Ways to Work programme run by the six Liverpool City Region authorities – including Halton - with in-person digital inclusion group training sessions, delivered by Lloyds Digital Trainers.

Mr Rotheram added: "It’s our duty to properly connect our residents up with this 21st Century necessity and schemes like this will help us to directly target those who are most in need of our support. We’re creating what I hope will be a better-connected future that everyone in our region can benefit from - it’s proper levelling up in action.”

Recently published analysis estimates that 324,590 working age residents across the Liverpool City Region - which includes Halton, Knowsley, St Helens, Wirral, Sefton and Liverpool - are limited or non-users of the internet.

Nationally, Lloyds Banking Group’s 2022 Essential Digital Skills report found that one-fifth of UK adults lack the digital skills needed for everyday life, meaning they’re unable to do things such as make a payment, write an email or find a job online.

The Digital Inclusion Initiative joins a wider programme of work aimed at tackling this challenge through the Liverpool City Region Digital Inclusion Network. To find out more, visit