Ever heard of social tariffs?

We could save more than £180 a year on phone and broadband

We’re all worrying about our bills at the moment. But how nice would it be to learn we’re entitled to some big savings on things like broadband and phone services?

Well that’s exactly what we could get if we’re on Universal Credit, or certain other benefits. The government has been working with telecom providers to offer us cut-price broadband and mobile packages from just £10 a month. That’s a saving of more than £180 a year on the average cost.

It sounds a bit too good to be true. But the only catch with social tariffs is that not enough of us are on them. Ofcom figures showed that fewer than 3 in 100 eligible households were benefiting.

Clean Slate, which produces this magazine, knows how much getting on to a social tariff can help us to save money, find work and keep in touch with loved ones. Waleed, 61, from London came to Clean Slate when he was struggling with bills and debt.

He didn’t know about social tariffs, or that he would qualify thanks to being on Universal Credit. But soon he got on to a much cheaper deal with a social tariff.

“I had no idea about social tariffs,” says Waleed. “I’ve gone from paying £504 a year to £180. The speed is just the same, it’s really fast and I found it really easy to sign up once Becci at Clean Slate pointed me in the right direction.”

Why aren’t social tariffs being used? There are a few myths out there

  • MYTH 1 Some of us might assume that such a big cash saving means we’ll end up with a much worse service. Wrong! Social tariffs offer reliable service with fast guaranteed speeds that enable us to multi-stream or do video calling.
  • MYTH 2 We might think it will take a while to check if we’re eligible, but lots of providers can now do that automatically thanks to a new government system that will conduct all the necessary checks (if we consent) – which speeds up the switching process!
  • MYTH 3 If we’re already signed up to a contract for 12 or 24 months, we may worry we’ll be hit with big fees for changing early. If we stay with our current provider, most will not charge us for switching to a social tariff. We should check this with them to be sure.

Social tariffs are part of the government’s Help for Households scheme, which offers 40 types of support with the cost of living. For more information about how to access social tariffs, see Ofcom’s website.

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