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Virgin Media O2 increases support for low-income groups and urges government to reduce social tariff VAT

Staff Reporter
December 7, 2023

Virgin Media O2 is designating 1,600 stores as National Digital Inclusion Hubs which will offer 25GB of free O2 data to low-income households.

Aound 1,600 stores will have access to the National Databank’s services, including free O2 data, texts, and calls.  The National Databank is run by the Good Things Foundation. which lobbies for digital inclusion.

Virgin Media O2 is lobbying the government to update its Digital Inclusion Strategy and reduce VAT on social tariffs from 20 per cent to five percent. Any VAT reduction will be refunded directly to consumers.

O2 stores to have access to National Databank and distribute 25Gb of free data to low-income households.

The network is also working with the public sector to increase awareness of available support, especially among hard-to-reach groups and will introduce a mobile social tariff to inform low-income households about available assistance with their connectivity needs.

More than five million Virgin Media broadband, TV, and landline customers will be send information with their monthly bills about the network’s social tariffs Essential Broadband and Essential Broadband Plus, the for individuals receiving certain benefits.

Virgin Media O2 is working with local authorities such as Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Slough Borough Council, Bradford Council, and Telford and Wrekin Council to leverage local knowledge and community channels to increase awareness about social tariffs.

“We’re boosting our awareness efforts to spread the word about the support measures we’ve put in place. Whether through monthly bill information or collaborations with local authorities, millions will be reminded about our Essential Broadband packages, catering to those facing financial difficulty.” Rob Orr, said Virgin Media O2, Chief Operations Officer Rob Orr.

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