Skip to main content

Broadband: Social Tariffs

Volume 734: debated on Wednesday 14 June 2023

The Government recognise that this is a difficult time for families across the country who may be struggling with their bills. Social tariffs are already offered by 21 broadband providers, covering 99% of the UK. We continue to urge the providers that do not yet do so to bring forward offers to support low-income households.

My North Shropshire constituents eagerly anticipate the roll-out of Project Gigabit, for which a contract has been awarded, but obviously not everybody in a rural area is well off, and broadband is an essential part of daily life. Will the Minister explain what steps he will take to ensure that that provider will offer social tariffs to my constituents?

As I say, the vast majority of providers offer social tariffs already. I am not sure what the broadband provider the hon. Lady refers to will be, but we will certainly look at that. We will also do our best to encourage take-up, because while that has increased fourfold since January 2022, we recognise that a lot of people who are eligible have not yet taken advantage of these schemes.

Oh, thank you, Mr Speaker.

But this is not just about social tariffs, is it? It is also about when the whole broadband system goes down. Recently there was a break in the broadband circuits in Lichfield and no offer was made to any subscribers for any form of compensation. What is my right hon. Friend’s view on that?

There are schemes that will ensure that if there is a lengthy take-out of provision, compensation will be available. I am very happy to look at the specific example of what happened in my hon. Friend’s constituency and to advise customers there what is available to them.