MORE struggling Brits could get their broadband and phone bills slashed under new plans.
Ministers will tomorrow launch a new scheme to help internet providers to check whether their customers are entitled to cheaper deals.
Boris Johnson’s cost of living tsar, David Buttress, is urging firms to offer more cut-price offers to struggling families to help ease the huge squeeze on incomes.
Virgin Media O2 have already signed up to the scheme, with others urged to follow suit.
Currently people have to show proof of their benefits payments or provide a letter from the job-centre every month to get access to cheaper rates.
Just 1.2 per cent of those who are eligible to get cheaper so-called ‘social tariffs’ apply to do so, the Government says.
It’s estimated that around 4.2million Brits qualify for cheap tariffs – but only 55,000 of those eligible are signed up to them.
Sun Money is calling on the Government, regulator Ofcom and suppliers to do more to support struggling customers and make it easier for customers to switch to a social tariff.
Former Just Eat boss, Mr Buttress, said: “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 struggling families.
“Some of the biggest network operators have already committed to take advantage of this new scheme and we want to see other providers follow their lead so that everyone eligible for a social tariff can access one.”
Social tariffs are available to those on low incomes, and could save the typical household hundreds of pounds a year.
We spoke to one mum who saved £300 on her broadband bill with the simple switch.
How you apply will vary between providers – some offer online sign-up, while with others you’ll need to pick up the phone.
The deals on offer also vary – different prices and speeds will be available depending on the provider and where you live.
We found out more from speaking to a couple of broadband customers who both saved hundreds on their bill by using social tariffs.
Also, earlier this year, Sky launched a broadband tariff for struggling households. It offers 36Mbps broadband for £20 a month for 18 months.
The same deal is available if you have Now TV, which is part of Sky.
To qualify for a social tariff you’ll typically need to be in receipt of certain benefits including Universal Credit, Employment and support allowance, the “guarantee credit” element of pension credit, Income support, or Jobseeker’s Allowance.
If you’re not sure whether you’re eligible, The Sun has come up with an easy tool in partnership with Nous to help you check.
Consumer champion Martyn James said: “Internet access is hugely important for everyone, from children studying to those who are trying to find work.
“It is an essential service and should be treated and regulated as such.”