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Mobile and broadband firms urged to raise awareness of social tariffs

The UK’s biggest mobile and broadband providers have been urged to do more to promote their affordable deals to people struggling with the rising cost of living.

The biggest firms in the telecoms sector – including BT, Virgin Media, O2, Sky, Vodafone, TalkTalk, Three Mobile, Hyperoptic – and Ofcom took part in a summit with ministers from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on Tuesday.

Digital minister Julia Lopez used the meeting to call on the firms to commit to doing more to boost awareness of social tariffs, and in particular deals for people in receipt of Universal Credit.

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DCMS pointed to an Ofcom report in September which found only 13% of those in an eligible group were aware that social tariffs were available, despite them being offered in 99% of the UK to those who need the support most.

The department said the firms had agreed to take more steps to ensure eligible customers know about social tariffs, and they also agreed to share insights into the barriers beyond consumer awareness that may be slowing uptake.

The meeting followed a similar gathering in the summer were firms agreed to do more to support customers with the cost of living – and a number have since announced social tariffs.

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Ms Lopez said: “Helping families manage the cost of living is a priority for this winter and beyond.

“It is vital to find out what more we and the telecoms industry can do to support families worried about their bills.

“Everyone should have access to affordable mobile and broadband services. Today we agreed that more has to be done to raise awareness of social tariffs and stressed the impact price increases have on people and families up and down the country.”