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Which?: Six millions UK households struggling to pay for telecom bills

Megan Robinson
August 4, 2022

The cost of living crisis has meant many households have had to cut down on other essentials to pay for telecom services

Six million households are struggling to afford telecom services such as broadband, landline and mobile phone packages according to analysis from Which?

Its analysis of Ofcom survey data found around 5.7 million households experienced financial issues regarding telecom services in April 2022- including cancelling their service, switching to other packages or missing payments.

Households experiencing affordability issues increased from 16 per cent in February to 20 pc in April this year,  and those facing multiple telecom affordability issues grew by 56 pc from February to April this year. 

The survey found 3.5 million households in April had reduced their spending on other essentials to afford connectivity- up from 2.2 million households in February. 

Action needed

Which? Are calling on the government to cut down VAT paid on telecom services to ensure it is more affordable for everyone- as broadband, mobile and landline have now become essential.

Research reveals that reduction in VAT could save people on a standard broadband tariff up to £57 a year and £37.50 a year on a social tariff.

The company also believes consumers should be made aware of the best value deal or any discounts if they are eligible, and should provide support for those struggling.

Which? Director of policy and advocacy Rocio Concha said: “The fact that millions of households have made sacrifices to prioritise their broadband and mobile connections during the cost of living crisis demonstrates just how essential these services are for day-to-day modern life. 

“To help cut bill costs, the next Prime Minister should reduce the VAT paid on telecoms to five per cent in line with other essential services. 

“Businesses must support anyone struggling to afford their bills and ensure consumers are aware of and able to access the best deals.”

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