Social Security Benefits: Broadband

Department for Science, Innovation and Technology written question – answered at on 2 May 2023.

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Photo of Beth Winter Beth Winter Labour, Cynon Valley

To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, if she will make an estimate of the number of households that are eligible for broadband and mobile phone social tariffs in (a) Cynon Valley constituency, (b) Rhondda Cynon Taf local authority and (c) Wales.

Photo of Beth Winter Beth Winter Labour, Cynon Valley

To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, if she will make an estimate of the number of households that applied for (a) broadband and (b) mobile phone social tariffs in (i) Cynon Valley constituency, (ii) Rhondda Cynon Taf local authority and (iii) Wales in the latest period for which data is available.

Photo of Julia Lopez Julia Lopez Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)

The Government has worked with industry to bring a range of low-cost, high quality broadband and mobile social tariffs to the market, starting from just £10 per month, available in 99% of the country.

Providers vary on their eligibility criteria for their social tariffs, therefore we do not hold the exact data regarding those eligible in the requested areas. However, receipt of Universal Credit is the most common eligibility criterion across providers. The Department for Work and Pensions Portal Stat-Xplore includes data on the number of people claiming Universal Credit, and this shows that there were approximately 6,000 households in Cynon Valley Parliamentary Constituency, 17,000 households in Rhondda Cynon Taf Local Authority and 215,000 households in Wales in this category in November 2022. This provides a useful proxy for social tariffs eligibility in those areas.

The Department does not hold data relating to take-up in any geographical area. However, Ofcom’s Affordability Report (April Update) showed that 5.1% (220,000) of the 4.3 million households eligible were taking up a social tariff nationally. This represents a four-fold increase from January 2022.

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