HUNDREDS of thousands of Scots could be missing out on cheaper broadband and mobile phone deals available under a scheme to help people on low incomes, a charity has warned.

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS), the Scottish arm of the Citizens Advice Bureau, is campaigning for better promotion of social tariffs and is calling for the scheme to be extended to a wider range of people.

A social tariff is a cheaper deal - currently prices range from £10 to £23 a month - available to those who receive  a variety of social security payments, including Universal Credit. 

READ MORE: ‘Social tariff for energy must be introduced’, charity says

But Ofcom has estimated that less than one in ten - just 8.3% of people - who are eligible for better deals take them up across the UK.

CAS says this means if the same figure was applied to Scotland, 396,231 people in Scotland could be missing out on a better deal.

The charity has also said that providers are not doing enough to make people aware of such deals, having found that of the 24% of customers who are aware of social tariffs, only 7% are aware due to their provider informing them.

The remaining 76% of Scots, CAS said, are not aware of social tariffs at all.

In a poll through YouGov, CAS found that 57% of consumers in Scotland support widening the eligibility criteria of social tariffs to include disabled people, and 53% of consumers said they would broaden the eligibility criteria to include those who are fleeing domestic abuse.

CAS strong communities spokesman Kyle Scott said: “Social tariffs have been a lifeline for people during the cost-of-living crisis.

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“As the pandemic showed, access to the internet isn’t just a leisure issue, it’s an essential utility to help people live, work and learn.

“We’ve seen some growth in the number of providers offering social tariffs in recent years, which is really welcome, but social tariffs as a whole remain under-promoted and under-utilised by consumers.

“Hundreds of thousands of people could be missing out on cheaper deals.”

He added: “These deals should be extended further to other groups who would benefit from them, such as those living with disabilities or fleeing domestic violence.

“They can be a great tool in helping people access services, training or work, and could be a real benefit to people in vulnerable situations.”

The charity has called on people to check their eligibility for a social tariff, with information available on Ofcom’s website.