Nearly 8.5 million Brits have never used the internet, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

According to the research firm, 8.43 million equates to 16.8 percent of the UK adult population. With 82.9 percent of UK adults, or some 41.62 million, saying they've gone online, ONS said there's been a decrease of 299,000 UK adults that have never used the web compared to the previous quarter of the year.

"Internet use is linked to various socio-economic and demographic characteristics, such as age, disability, location and earnings," said ONS.

"Adults who were more likely to have never used the internet included the over 65s, the widowed and those with a disability."

In a bid to get all working Brits online before the end of the current parliament, the government and UK Digital Champion Martha Lane-Fox, are running the the Race Online 2012 initiative. Launched in 2009 by Lane Fox, who also founded, the campaign hopes to encourage Brits to get online, particularly as Lane Fox believes the web empowers the unemployed, with more than 90 percent of all new jobs requiring basic internet skills, as well as preventing social isolation by allowing contact with friends and family that do not live close by and even improving exam results.

As part of the initiative, more than 100,000 Brits have agreed to volunteer as 'Digital Champions' to help show those currently not online the benefits of the web. Lane Fox hopes the Digital Champions will show unconnected Brits the joys of the web and stamp out the impressions that there's nothing on the web to benefit them.