6 million households struggling to afford telecoms, warns Which?

Almost six million households are struggling to afford essential telecoms services, a new analysis by Which? has found.

The consumer organisation is calling on the government to cut the amount of VAT paid on mobile, broadband, and telephone services.

The research found that in April, an estimated 5.7 million households experienced at least one affordability issue – for example, having to reduce spending on other essentials, cancelling or changing their service, or missing payments.

Which? said that the number of households that have had any affordability issues in the past month increased by a fifth from 16 per cent in February 2022 to 20 per cent in April 2022.

“The fact that millions of households have made sacrifices to prioritise their broadband and mobile connections during the cost-of-living crisis demonstrates just how essential these services are for day-to-day modern life,” said Rocio Concha, Which? director of policy and advocacy. “To help cut bill costs, the next Prime Minister should reduce the VAT paid on telecoms in line with other essential services.”

Concha added: “Businesses must support anyone struggling to afford their bills and ensure consumers are aware of and able to access the best deals.”

The analysis revealed that the most common adjustment households made was having to reduce spending on other essentials to afford telecoms services.

An estimated 3.5 households reduced their spending on other essential items, such as food and clothes, in the last month to afford their connectivity services in April 2022, up from an estimated 2.2 million in February, representing a 59 per cent increase.

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