ISPs urged to offer ‘social tariffs’ to cut bills for low-income households | News from politics


Ministers are urging all broadband providers to offer ‘social tariffs’, allowing low-income households to get discounted mobile and internet plans to ease the pressure of rising living costs.

A new service, going live this week and operated by the Department for Work and Pensions, will allow internet service providers to check, with the consent of customers, that they are receiving a relevant benefit and therefore eligible for additional financial support.

The Government says the scheme, already backed by Virgin Media O2, could save homes hundreds of pounds a year in some cases.

those of the government cost of living Business czar David Buttress said he was committed to expanding and promoting the concept of social tariffs.

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“Times are tough and families across the country are feeling the pinch, so we’re making it easier for companies to reduce phone and broadband bills for families struggling,” Mr Buttress said.

“Some of the largest network operators have already committed to using this new system and we want other operators to follow suit so that everyone who is eligible for a social plan can access it.

“This is just one of the ways we are working with businesses to offer help as part of our Help for Households campaign, which builds on the comprehensive £37 billion support package already being made available by the Government.”

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said: “It is more important than ever that people get the financial support that is available to them.”

“I want to thank these vendors who are leading the way in getting customers on discounted fares, and I encourage others to follow suit to help millions of households reduce bills,” she added.

Government figures show that while many providers already offer so-called ‘social tariffs’, take-up is low with only 1.2% of those eligible applying.

Currently, applicants must prove their eligibility monthly, for example by sending screenshots of their Universal Credit account to their broadband provider or by providing a letter from the job center.

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