Universal Credit: Britons could save up to £200 on broadband with ‘little known’ switch

Martin Lewis reveals how customers can 'halve' broadband costs

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The cost of living crisis is forcing people to take a closer look at their finances to cut as much off their outgoings as possible in order to stay on top of rising energy bills and soaring inflation rates. One way millions of people may be able to slash their bills is to choose a “social tariff” broadband package. Social tariffs are special broadband tariffs, offered by some of the biggest providers, at special discounted rates for those on low-incomes.

Broadband social tariffs are around £10 – £20 per month and aren’t usually subject to price rises or exit fees.

On the tariff, people will see speeds ranging from 10mbps to 67mbps.

Ofcom found that people could save an average of £144 by switching to the social tariff, however research by the consumer group Which? Found that people could potentially save up to £200.

People may be eligible if they receive a means-tested benefit, such as Universal Credit, Pension Credit or legacy equivalents.

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As the tariffs are available to any household receiving Universal Credit, a total of 4.2 million households could qualify for the cheaper deal.

However, recent Ofcom findings revealed that only 55,000 homes, just 1.2 percent, had taken advantage of the discount.

It’s important to note that social tariffs are not offered by all broadband providers.

There are currently eight providers offering social broadband tariffs, including Sky, BT, Community Fibre, G.Network, Hyperoptic, KCOM, NOW Broadband, and Virgin Media.

BT currently offers those on Universal Credit or other means-tested benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) such as Pension Credit or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) a £15 monthly broadband package.

Virgin Media also offers a £15 package for people claiming Universal Credit.

Sky is also offering existing customers a £20 monthly Broadband Basics package, however, if you don’t already have Sky broadband there’s the option of NOW Broadband Basics for £20 each month.

Earlier this year, Ofcom called on providers to do a better job of promoting social tariffs, making information about them clear and the sign-up process as easy as possible for eligible customers.

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Its research found that around 84 percent of benefit recipients were unaware of the social tariffs.

The regulator said it had seen “limited evidence” of providers actively promoting their social tariffs to customers who could be eligible.

The regulator noted that they don’t tend to feature in advertising or when people search for a new package on a price comparison website.

It has also urged providers that do not currently offer a social tariff, such as TalkTalk and Vodafone, to do so.

According to Ofcom’s affordability report, around 1.1million households were struggling to afford their home broadband service.

Ofcom stated that affordability problems were likely to “worsen” this year.

Lindsey Fussell, network and communications group director at Ofcom said: “People rely on their broadband for staying in touch, working and learning from home. But for those who are really struggling with rising bills, every penny counts.

“Special discounts can make all the difference, and too many broadband firms are failing either to promote their social tariff or to offer one at all.

“We expect companies to step up support for those on low incomes, and we’ll be watching their response.”

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