The UK's ability to be competitive and productive on a global stage could be at risk if the digital skills crisis is not tackled now, MPs have warned.

The Commons Science and Technology Committee said "digital exclusion has no place in 21st Century Britain".

The government's report found that more than 12.5 million adults in the UK don't have the necessary basic digital skills required to succeed in today's modern working environment. Nearly six million have never even used the internet.

It suggested that poor education and training is largely to blame for the skills gap. Among its findings, the government said nearly a quarter (22%) of school IT equipment is ineffective and outdated, nearly two thirds of computer science teachers don't have a relevant qualification. And just 70% of the computer science teachers required have been hired.

By the end of this year, the UK needs to hire another 745,000 digital skill-based jobs in order to keep up with the rest of the world, with 90% of all jobs requiring at least basic digital skills. The report estimates the digital skills gap costs the UK economy around £63 billion in lost income.

The committee said: "While the government is to be commended for the actions taken so far... stubborn digital exclusion and systemic problems with digital education and training need to be addressed as a matter of urgency in the government's forthcoming digital strategy."

Committee chair, Nicole Blackwood, said: "The UK leads Europe on tech, but we need to take concerted action to avoid falling behind. We need to make sure tomorrow's workforce is leaving school or university with the digital skills that employers need."

Seamus Nevin, head of employment and skills policy at the Institute of Directors, said: "This report shows the need for businesses to invest more in training British workers. We also must make sure tomorrow's workforce is leaving school or university with the digital skills that employers require. Just as importantly, we must enable people already in employment to retrain to up-skill in order to meet the demands of the changing workplace."

Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates, said: "At a time when 12.6 million UK adults are lacking in basic IT skills, we need to take more direct and decisive action to combat the problem.

"For a start, the government should work urgently with the private sector to invest in a comprehensive strategy for digital skills, to scale existing initiatives and identify gaps. Secondly, it must champion digital apprenticeships, increasing both the quantity and quality of schemes available. The Apprenticeship Levy is a golden opportunity to create a programme for the digital age that bridges our talent gap while increasing digital literacy and creating jobs.”