Local MP Martin Docherty-Hughes is calling for the UK government to do more to help households struggling to access affordable broadband.
A recent survey by Citizens Advice found that 1 million people have been forced cancel their broadband internet connections in the last year because they couldn’t afford their monthly payments.
West Dunbartonshire’s MP Martin Docherty-Hughes raised concerns in parliament this week that millions of households are unaware they could access specially discounted broadband through a social tariff.
The SNP MP cited the case of a constituent who struggled to access affordable broadband, despite the commitment of internet providers to offer discounted social tariffs for low-income households on government benefits.
Figures from Ofcom suggest that just 5% of households eligible for discounted social tariffs were using them – with more than 4 million households across the UK believed to be missing out.
Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt MP thanked Martin for raising the case and agreed more must be done to help people get the ‘connectivity and broadband speeds they need.’
Commenting, Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said:
“It’s simply not acceptable that my constituents are being forced to do without essentials like broadband due to cost.
“With more and more services going digital, access to an affordable and reliable internet connection has never been more important.
“I’m pressing the UK government and Ofcom to do more to help low-income households access the social tariff broadband deals they’re entitled to.
“Broadband companies must be held to account if they fail to make these deals available to those who need them. It isn’t right that 95% of eligible households are missing out.
“For anyone on benefits, including Universal Credit and Pension Credit, I’d urge them to check with internet providers if they can get cheaper broadband through a social tariff.”
Information on how to access broadband social tariffs is available on the Ofcom website: www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/advice-for-consumers/costs-and-billing/social-tariffs