MORE than four million low income households will be able to get half price off fibre broadband from BT and save up to £336 a year.
BT will offer Brits on Universal Credit and other means-tested benefits two types of cheap fibre broadband packages from the end of June.
These households will be able to get one of two deals – one is a £15 a month package and the other is £20 a month.
You’ll only be eligible for these packages if you’re on Universal Credit, jobseeker’s allowance, income support, employment and support allowance, or the guarantee credit element of pension credit.
If you choose the £15 a month package, you’ll get 700 minutes of calls per month and broadband with an average speed of 36Mbps.
This will work out at £180 a year.
The lowest priced equivalent deal BT offers to households not on benefits is worth £27.99 a month, plus an extra £7 a month for calls – costing £420 a year.
What is BT’s new deal for low income Brits?
HERE’s what you need to know about BT’s new deal low income households can claim.
You’ll only be eligible for the deal if you’re on Universal Credit, jobseeker’s allowance, income support, employment and support allowance, or the guarantee credit element of pension credit.
There are two deals to choose from:
- £15 a month for 700 minutes of calls per month and broadband with an average speed of 36Mbps
- £20 a month for unlimited calls and broadband with an average speed of 67Mbps
You could save £240 a year if you pick the cheapest one, and £336 if you pick the most expensive one, compared to the cheapest equivalent deals BT offers customers not claiming benefits.
This means low income households could save £240 a year.
The second package BT is offering to claimants is worth £20 a month.
You’ll get unlimited calls and broadband with an average speed of 67Mbps – working out at £240 a year.
The cheapest equivalent deal BT offers to households not on benefits costs £32.99 a month, as well as an additional £15 a month for unlimited calls – totalling £576.
This means low income households could save £336 a year.
BT said 4.6million households could benefit from the deal.
BT consumer division chief executive Marc Allera said: “BT Home Essentials will be available at half the price of our standard fibre package, helping a potential four million households on low income save on bills and stay connected to vital online services.”
How to cut your bills
IF you’re struggling financially, you might be able to cut the cost of your bills to help you get out of the red.
Council tax: You can apply for a council tax reduction on the Gov.uk website but you’ll need to meet certain criteria. Your bill could be cut by as much as 100 per cent if you’re on a low income or claim benefits. Carers who look after someone in the household for at least 35 hours a week are also exempt from paying.
Water: Households might be able to save money by getting a water meter but it all depends on how much you’re using. To check if it’s finacially worthwhile, use the Consumer Council for Water’s free ater meter calculator.
Rent: If you have the space available and your landlord or local authority says it’s ok to do so, you might want to consider getting a flatmate. Not only will you split the cost of the rent, but also the other bills.
Hire purchase: If you’re struggling to make your repayments on your hire purchase, you can usually end the contract by returning the goods. You will have to pay all the instalments due up to the time you end the agreement but this will limit the amount you owe. Contact Citizens Advice for free for more help with this.
Gas and electricty: MoneySavingExpert says families can save £330 on average by switching from Standard Variable Tariffs (SVTs) to a better rate. Use a comparison site such as MoneySuperMarket or Energyhelpline to see what deals are available.
Mortgage: If you get into debt with your mortgage payments, don’t wait for your lender to chase you. Work out what you can afford using the Citizens Advice budgeting tool so you can discuss your payment options moving forward with your mortgage provider.
Secured Loan: Your secured loan might be covered by the Consumer Credit Act and if it is, you may be able to apply for a Time Order. This is a special agreement by the courts allowing you more time to make payments. Secured loans not covered by the Consumer Credit Act include gas, electricity or water meters, payments that need to be written off in full, mortgages, credit union loans, loans from an employer and some short term trade agreements.
County Court Judgements: If you receive a County Court claim form talk to a free debt advice service straight away. This includes Citizens Advice (0808 800 9060), StepChange (0800 138 1111) and the National Debtline (0808 808 4000).
TV licence: Some households are eligible for a reduced fee or free TV Licence. Check here to see if you are entitled to a reduced or free rate.
However, the packages cost at least £5 more a month than the offer BT was giving to Universal Credit claimants from July last year.
This deal, called BT’s Basic package, cost £10 a month for home phone calls and unlimited broadband.
This deal will no longer be available when the new packages roll out at the end of June.
However, only Universal Credit claimants could get the £10 a month deal – and it didn’t include fibre broadband.
BT said that around 3million more people will be able to apply for cheaper broadband under the new scheme.
BT is not the only provider offering deals for low income Brits.
Virgin Media is also offering an Essentials package for Universal Credit claimants.
It is a broadband-only deal with speeds of 15Mbps for a fixed price of £15 per month – so calls aren’t included.
There is no fixed contract length so there won’t be any price increases as long as you are still claiming benefits.
KCOM offers similar Flex packages for customers on certain benefits such as Universal Credit and you can get a home phone and 3GB broadband for £9 a month.
It comes as Brits saw their broadband bills hike by up to £72 more per year earlier this year.
Sky announced it was upping bills by up to £72 per year for some customers, depending on what type of products they have, in February.
Here’s eight ways to get discounts and freebies if you’re on Universal Credit or benefits.
Thousands of SSE customers complained last month of waking up to “frightening” energy bills of up to £42,000.
Try our 10-minute energy switch challenge to cut your bill by up to £250.