What are social tariffs?

We’re inundated with news about rising prices and the cost of living crisis and yet it would seem the majority remain unaware of some of the opportunities that exist to help reduce the pressure on household budgets. One notable solution being Social Tariffs.

Social tariffs are specific contracts offered by mobile phone and broadband suppliers that have lower fixed term rates. These have been negotiated on mass by the government to provide targeted help to those claiming the most common forms of benefits, including Pension Credit and Universal Credits.

Save up to 50% on Broadband

Recent commentary from Martin Lewis, the self-styled Money Saving Expert, suggests that as little as 5% of claimants are currently taking advantage of these contracts. With most providers offering reductions of up to 50% on their standard rates, the savings can soon mount up. It is estimated that with deals from as low as £15 per month, qualifying households could be saving more than £180 per year on their broadband package – around half the average cost.

No reduction in speed or quality

The contract terms, line speed and service offered as part of the social tariffs are no different to those for other consumers. Contract periods remain the same, although one particular feature offered by some providers is the ability to lock in lower prices for a longer period. But in most cases, contracts remain around 12-24 months. As part of the arrangement, set up and exit fees are kept to an absolute minimum and the price remains fixed for the duration. Referred to by some providers as basic or essential broadband, the lines speeds are around 30mbps and like standard contracts don’t carry any limits.

Mobile Phones qualify too

As well as helping to control the costs of broadband, mobile phone networks also have similar deals on phone contracts, although this is in an already price driven market whereby one-time deals may even eclipse any targeted support. Needless to say, these contracts don’t always include the price of the phone, often the most expensive element, and so those making use of social tariffs need to factor this in to the overall cost. But if you qualify and already have a decent phone that is out of contract, moving to a social tariff could save upwards of another £100/year.

If you think you may qualify, or want to know more, make the Ofcom website your first port of call: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/advice-for-consumers/costs-and-billing/social-tariffs