The government is wasting little time in demonstrating its online credentials. First, it was broadband. Now it's the turn of Martha Lane Fox, the UK government's digital champion to say her piece. Lane Fox has produced a manifesto for digital inclusion, aimed to looking to introduce the power of online working to the 10 million adults in the UK who have never used the Internet - a staggeringly high number. Lane Fox points out, rightly, that this means that all of these are missing out on the advantages of the Internet, in terms of cheaper goods and services, easier access to jobs etc.

Lane Fox and her team have also made it clear that cost is a big part in this - as they point out, 40 percent of the non-joiners are in the lower income bracket and financial constraints should not be ignored as a factor.

This last point is interesting. For all the enthusiastic support the document has garnered from senior Tories - it contains endorsements from David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Iain Duncan Smith and Boris Johnson among others - it shouldn't be forgotten that Martha Lane Fox was appointed by the former Labour government to be the digital champion and, as such, is not likely to be a woman ready to be a front-woman for a government hope to prove its digital credentials without spending money

Because that's the crunch. A government can have some great intentions about digital inclusion but will it stick its hand in its pocket? At a time when cuts are being made to every government department, I'd imagine that schemes to help the unemployed get online will not be a high priority. I can almost see The Daily Mail headlines now: "Free Facebook for dole scroungers", "Now it's porn on the dole" and so on.

There are plenty of advantages in encouraging more participation in online services: not least because of the advantages for getting children connected - we certainly need a web-savvy future generation and should be broadening the user base as much as possible. And our struggling PC retailers would certainly appreciate the business.

Whether this inclusion is worth splashing money on is a moot point though - I suspect not. What I hope we don't see is more talk from the government about digital inclusion and about increasing opportunity, while at the same time, keeping a tight hand on the wallet. If the government wants to fund IT opportunities for a disadvantaged community, then it should say so. If it's too expensive for these straitened times, it should say so. Both are fair enough but let's have less of the PR - we had enough of that from the last government, let's hope for something different this time round.

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