Scots on Universal Credit 'missing out' on cheaper broadband deals

Citizens Advice Scotland say hundreds of thousands are missing out.

Universal Credit users in Scotland ‘missing’ out on cheaper broadband says charity PA Media

Hundreds of thousands of Scots on Universal Credit are missing out on cheaper broadband and mobile deals, say Citizens Advice Scotland.

Almost 400,000 users in Scotland are estimated to be eligible for social tariff deals but have not taken them up, according to figures from telecoms regulator Ofcom.

Around 8.3 per cent of people who receive social security payments like Universal Credit and are eligible for reduced prices on broadband and mobile take up the offer across the UK.

The charity, which is campaigning for greater promotion and eligibility for such social tariffs, say Scots should check their eligibility through Ofcom’s website as they could be missing out on cutting down bills.

Broadband providers, the charity say, are not doing enough to make customers aware of social tariffs, with their research claiming 24% of consumers are aware of them.

It claims only 7% of that figure are made aware because their provider had publicised it or recommended it to users, while three quarters of adults in Scotland aren’t aware of social tariffs at all.

A YouGov poll for CAS found 57 per cent of consumers in Scotland are in support of widening the eligibility criteria of social tariffs to include disabled people.

Meanwhile over half of consumers are in favour of including people fleeing domestic violence as part of the criteria.

CAS Strong Communities spokesperson Kyle Scott said: “Social tariffs have been a lifeline for people during the cost-of-living crisis. As the pandemic showed, access to the internet isn’t just a leisure issue, it’s an essential utility to help people live, work and learn.

“We’ve seen some growth in the number of providers offering social tariffs in recent years, which is really welcome, but social tariffs as a whole remain under promoted and underutilised by consumers. Hundreds of thousands of people could be missing out on cheaper deals.

“These deals should be extended further to other groups who would benefit from them, such as those living with disabilities or fleeing domestic violence.

“They can be a great tool in helping people access services, training or work, and could be a real benefit to people in vulnerable situations.”

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