Citizens Advice responds to latest broadband social tariff figures

Matthew Upton, Acting Executive Director of Policy & Advocacy at Citizens Advice, said:

“Social tariffs put money back into people’s pockets. But as it stands, a shocking 95% of eligible households are together missing out on a £200 saving each year. That’s £824 million of support going unclaimed. 

 “These latest figures show firms are still moving at a snail's pace. As they only have to offer these tariffs on a voluntary basis, they clearly aren’t incentivised to promote discounts. If this current rate of uptake continues, it will take 25 years before they reach everyone eligible.

 “While we support the drive to raise awareness, the poor take-up looks like groundhog day. It’s time to question whether firms offering social tariffs on a voluntary basis really works.”

 Advice for people struggling with bills:

  •  If you’re not able to manage on your current tariff,ask your provider if they can offer you cheaper phone or broadband. You can find out how to contact your provider on their website. You might be able to get a cheaper broadband deal called a ‘social tariff’. It depends which benefits you get and where you live. You can check which providers offer social tariffs on the Ofcom website .

  • If you or someone in your household claims Universal Credit, you could switch to any of the tariffs available. Some providers also include people on other benefits such as Pension Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support and Personal Independence Payment (PIP). The person receiving the benefit will need to be the main person on the contract ( Ofcom )


Notes to editors

  1. Projected rate of increase in social tariff take-up calculated by adding the difference between take-up in Feb 2022 (1.3%) and Feb 2023 (5.1%) to every future year. The difference is 3.8%. If social tariff take-up increased by that amount every year, it would take 25 more years to reach 100%.

  2. Figure of £824 million calculated by subtracting the current number of people on a social tariff (220,000) from the total number of eligible households (4.3 million). This number (4,080,000) multiplied by the estimated saving of £202.

  3. Citizens Advice is made up of the national charity Citizens Advice; the network of independent local Citizens Advice charities across England and Wales; the Citizens Advice consumer service; and the Witness Service.

  4. Our network of charities offers impartial advice online, over the phone, and in person, for free. 

  5. Citizens Advice helped 2.55 million people face to face, over the phone, by email and webchat in 2021-22. And we had 40.6 million visits to our website. For full service statistics see our monthly publication Advice trends.

  6. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 18,500 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 service outlets across England and Wales.

  7. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133 or 0808 223 1144 for Welsh language speakers.