Parliamentary candidate and Mid Devon councillor Rachel Gilmour has challenged regional services that are “online only” as discriminatory to older people.

Cllr Gilmour, who is standing to become Liberal Democrat MP for Tiverton and Minehead, is actively supporting Age UK’s #offlineandoverlooked campaign. It highlights that many older people are unable to access vital services that have become online-only.

“This is an important campaign to protect the rights of elderly people who do not have access to a computer or no ability to use one,” she said. “Tiverton and Minehead has a large elderly population and more people are disadvantaged here than in other areas.”

Cllr Gilmour was contacted by highly respected former Conservative Councillor Barbara Child, who brought her attention to waste disposal sites that take only online bookings. It is not possible to make telephone bookings for appointments. 

Cllr Gilmour took the matter up with Cllr Bill Revans, Leader of Somerset Council, who confirmed that provision would be made for those without computers.

Age UK believes 6million older people in the UK do not have access to the Internet. Commenting on their campaign, Cllr Gilmour said: “I am delighted to be able to support this crucial campaign. It is discriminatory to exclude a large section of the population from access to goods and services, just because they either do not have, or do not use the technology required.

“Even big companies like Argos and Russell Hobbs are now only using email communications, rather than answering phone calls.

“I urge constituents to sign this petition as soon as possible so their voices are heard, loud and clear. I would also like to thank the inimitable Miss Child for bringing it to my attention.”

More than 50,000 people have already signed, and you can access the petition here:

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