Millions of Universal Credit claimants miss out on £200 off bills

World News

People on Universal Credit and other benefits may be able to slash their broadband and mobile bills with social tariffs.

Social tariffs are discounted broadband and mobile tariffs for Britons on low incomes. Many providers offer the deals, including Sky, BT and Virgin Media.

The support could slash a household’s yearly broadband bills by £200. But Ofcom figures show just five percent of the 4.3 million households eligible for the tariffs are taking advantage of the scheme.

Dame Clare Moriarty, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “People are being priced out of internet access at a worrying rate.

“Social tariffs should be the industry’s safety net, but firms’ current approach to providing and promoting them clearly isn’t working.”

Here are some of the social tariffs currently available as listed on the Ofcom website, with the monthly rates:

  • 4th Utility Social Tariff – £13.99 – 30Mbit/s
  • BT Home Essentials – £15 – Around 36 Mbit/s
  • BT Home Essentials 2 – £20 – Around 67 Mbit/s
  • Community Fibre Essential – £12.50 – 20 Mbit/s
  • Country Connect Social Tariff – £15 – 50 Mbit/s
  • EE Basics – £12 – Up to 25 Mbit/s
  • G. Network Essential Fibre Broadband – £15 – 50 Mbit/s
  • Grayshott Gigabit Connect – £19 – 100 Mbit/s
  • Hyperoptic Fair Fibre 50 – £15 – 50 Mbit/s
  • Hyperoptic Fair Fibre 150 – £20 – 150 Mbit/s
  • KCOM Full Fibre Flex £14.99 – 30 Mbit/s
  • Lightning Fibre Social Tariff – £15 – 50 Mbit/s
  • Lothian Broadband Social Tariff – £19.99 – 100 Mbit/s
  • NOW Broadband Basics – £20 – 36 Mbit/s
  • Sky Broadband Basics – £20 – 36 Mbit/s
  • SMARTY Social Tariff – £12 – 5G where available
  • Virgin Media Essential Broadband – £12.50 – 15 Mbit/s
  • Virgin Media Essential Broadband Plus – £20 – 54 Mbit/s
  • Vodafone Essentials Broadband – £12 – 38 Mbit/s
  • VOXI For Now – £10 – 5G where available
  • Wildanet Helping Hand Social Tariff – £20 – 30 to 100 Mbit/s
  • WightFibre Essential Broadband – £16.50 – 100 Mbit/s.

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Around a million Britons cut off their broadband in the past year as they could not afford rising costs.

Universal Credit claimants were six times more likely to have stopped their internet than those who do not claim the benefit.

Ms Moriarty said those who are missing out on social tariffs are the “most likely” to disconnect.

She added: “As providers continue to drag their feet in making social tariffs a success, it’s clear that Ofcom needs to hold firms’ feet to the fire.”

People on some means-tested benefits, including Universal Credit, are receiving a £900 cost of living payment, going out in three instalments.

The first £301 instalment was paid recently with the second amount of £300 to be paid in autumn this year and the third instalment of £299 to go out in spring 2024.

Britons on disability benefits are to get a £150 cost of living payment, which will be paid next month.

People of state pension age who are receiving the Winter Fuel Payment this winter will also get an additional pensioner cost of living payment, of between £150 and £300.

A person can find out how much benefits they could receive using an online calculator tool, such as the one on the Turn2us website.

For the latest personal finance news, follow us on Twitter at @ExpressMoney_.

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