Comments from Cllr Peter McDonald:

“The County Council is failing our children’s education by refusing to give laptops out to those in desperate need of them.

Concerns are being raised over the “digital divide” among pupils during lockdown. About 9 per cent of children in Britain do not have home access to a computer or tablet and more than 880,000 children live in a household with only a mobile internet, Ofcom has estimated.

We have situations in our own County where one member of the family is shielding and yet a family member is being forced to go to school and put the family member at risk, or stop at home and miss out on their education. All because the school and the County will not provide a laptop: putting the  member of the family who is shielding at serious risk.

No wonder concerns are being raised over the “digital divide” among pupils during lockdown. About 9 per cent of children in Britain do not have home access to a computer or tablet and more than 880,000 children live in a household with only a mobile internet connection, Ofcom has estimated.

No child should be deprived of an education because their parents can’t afford to purchase a laptop or the broadband costs. Therefore, as the Opposition’s Education Spokesperson, I am calling for every disadvantaged child to urgently receive a laptop and free broadband, as most will be learning remotely until at least February half-term.”