ONE in 10 adults in Herefordshire did not use the internet in the months leading up to the coronavirus pandemic, new figures reveal.

As family Zoom calls, home working and internet shopping became a larger part of the country’s day-to-day lives, 10.5% of over-16s surveyed by the Office for National Statistics between January and March 2020 had not been online in the previous three months.

That was higher than across the UK, where around 7.8% of adults do not regularly use the internet – and meant an estimated 17,000 residents in Herefordshire were not regular internet users.

Across the UK, around 3.4 million people said in 2020 that they had never used the web – and more than 60% of them were aged 75 and over.

But the number of older people regularly using the internet is rising rapidly, closing the age gap with younger users.

Last year, 54% of over-75s nationally said they had used the internet in the last three months – up from 47% the year before, and a huge leap from just 20% in 2011.

The ONS suggested that the sharp rise in use among older people last year could be partly related to the effects of the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, as millions of people began to head online to stay in touch with friends and family.

However, the figures should not be used as an overall indicator of its impact, the ONS said, as the data was gathered between January and March 2020, just as the coronavirus outbreak began in the UK.

At 89.5%, usage in Herefordshire has shot up since 2011, the earliest year for which figures are available. That year, only 75.9% of adults were regularly on the web.

Different ONS data shows 89% of adults across the UK used the internet daily or nearly every day in 2020, up from 35% in 2006, when records began.

Internet banking, sending and receiving emails and finding information about goods and services are the most common reasons for internet use, the data revealed.