Published On: Sat, Mar 16th, 2024

State pensioners urged to check if they can halve their bills through discount scheme | Personal Finance | Finance

have been urged to check if they can get discounted and tariffs that could halve their bills.

Millions of older Britons are unaware of social tariffs, which are discounted rates available to people on certain benefits, according to new research from Broadband Genie.

Alex Tofts, broadband expert at Broadband Genie, told “From next month, the state pension is rising to just over £11,500, but according to Retirement Living Standards, a single person would need £14,400 a year to cover just a ‘minimum’ retirement lifestyle. This suggests that many pensioners need social tariffs to ease challenging living costs.”

Mr Tofts gave the example of Vodafone, which has a broadband social tariff for just £12 a month, which is more than half the price of its standard broadband service, which starts at £27 a month.

He said: “Broadband social tariffs are not just a luxury but a necessity for older people who rely on the internet for communication and access to essential services.”

Now is also a good time to check if you are eligible for a social tariff as broadband and mobile bills will be increasing by up to 8.8 percent next month.

Many providers base their mid-contract increases in April on the inflation rate plus an additional percentage increase.

Andy Aitken, co-founder and CEO of mobile provider Honest, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt for not acting on the mid-contract price hikes in his Spring Budget.

He previously told : “These unfair price increases – like the one we’ve recently been informed of that will see millions across the UK face price hikes of up to 8.8 percent – are deeply unethical and take a serious toll on people’s finances.

“Given how timely this issue is, it’s shocking that this wasn’t addressed in last week’s budget.”

Major providers including BT and EE are set to increase some of their tariffs by 7.99 percent, while Virgin Media and 02 are increasing some bills by 8.8 percent. Social tariffs are not affected by the annual price hikes.

Industry regulator Ofcom previously proposed ban the inflation-linked price rises. Providers are now required to inform customers upfront about any mid-contract bills increases.

Andy Aitken called for the above-inflation price rises should be scrapped, saying: “It’s very simple: if we truly want to stop inflation and support working people, why wouldn’t we put an end to an unpredictable, unethical price hike that ultimately contributes to the basket of goods that make up inflation?

“Even Ofcom has called time on this whole practice. The only way to fix the current system and protect low-income households is very simple: mid-contract broadband and mobile price hikes must be banned once and for all.”

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