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Digital Switchover

Volume 455: debated on Tuesday 16 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what measures her Department has put in place (a) to identify and (b) to offer help under the targeted assistance scheme for digital switchover to (i) people with severe disabilities who do not claim disability benefit, (ii) people with mental health problems, (iii) people with learning disabilities, (iv) cancer patients, (v) people with autism, (vi) certified blind and partially sighted people and (vii) people under the age of 75 who have acquired mobility problems after the age of 65. (113577)

[holding answer 8 January 2007]: The Digital Switchover Help Scheme will cover:

all households with one person aged 75 or over

all households with one person with a significant disability in the relevant qualification period. This will be defined as being eligible for the following social security benefits: disability living allowance (including where the qualifying person is a child), attendance allowance, constant attendance allowance (CAA) under the industrial injuries disablement benefit scheme and CAA and war pensioners mobility supplement under the pre-2005 war pensions scheme.

all households where one person is registered severely sight impaired/blind or where one person is registered sight impaired/partially sighted.

The definition of household will follow the DWP definition of a “benefit unit”: a couple and any dependent children (aged under 16 or in full-time education). Non-dependent adults will be able to claim assistance in their own right.

The Digital Switchover (Disclosure of Information) Bill would enable the scheme operator to target eligible individuals making it easier for them to claim and so help to increase take-up. The scheme will be supported by targeted communications and will benefit from more generic switchover-related communications, which Digital UK is producing and which will increase as switchover nears.

Digital UK will ensure, as part of its communications activities, that those hard-to-reach groups, particularly those who do not qualify for support from the Help Scheme, have adequate information available to support them through switchover.