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Council staff join 'digital champions' initiative

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Some 5,000 local authority library staff are among an army of volunteers recruited by the Cabinet Office to help more adults learn to use the internet.

There will be some 100,000 ‘digital champions’ in all, drawn from the staff and users of 1,100 bodies that have agreed to partner the government in the initiative.

Prime minister David Cameron said: “Today there are nine million adults in the UK who have never used the internet - and nearly half of them are among our most disadvantaged people.

“That’s why the work Martha Lane Fox is doing as the UK’s Digital Champion is so important.

“And it’s also why I’m so keen for everyone to get behind Race Online 2012 and its ambition to get as many people online as possible by the time of the London Olympics.”

Ms Lane Fox launched the idea in her manifesto for a networked nation last July.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has launched an early prototype of a potential single government web domain, as also recommended by Ms Lane Fox.

The Cabinet Office said this was the first time Government had launched a prototype, which is available online for comment.

It would eventually provide a single place for all central government department information, but at present carries only answers to the 100 most common questions posed to Government by the public.

Moving to a single website could save the Government half its £130m annual spend on internet publishing, the Cabinet Office said.

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