Pick up the slack ?
"Instead it has insisted that libraries, job centres and other public places will pick up the slack."
This whole scheme terrifies me, not because of any great direct impact it might have on me personally but because of the 7 million or so with no experience of using the internet. As the article points out, a large part of this 7 million comprises the poor, the elderly and the sick, who are the ones who need access to the benefits system most.
I am fortunate that I live in an area where local government cost saving policies have not impacted greatly on the library service and in our nice shiny 18 month old combined library, community centre and Council office we have 12 computers available for public use. That is all well and good, but leaves one hell of a training problem for the 7 million with no internet experience. I am one of the trainers.
I teach basic computing as a volunteer in the library and at the moment I am the only such volunteer. Most of my 'students' fall into the elderly category - I have had at least one who was in her '90s and learnt quite successfully - but a surprising number have considerable difficulty in grasping that you need to log-in to the computer with one password and then - for example - log-in to your e-mail account with a different one.
I fear that people like this are essentially going to be cut off from the benefits system. And these have been people with reasonable command of their faculties. How about the seriously handicapped - my sister-in-law who is confined to a wheel chair, my neighbour who is blind ?