Digital Poverty in the UK

Faith, B., Hernandez, K. and Beecher, J. (2022), IDS Policy Briefing 202, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies

As every aspect of life – from job seeking to health care – moves online, digital connectivity is a daily necessity, not a luxury. Against the backdrop of the UK’s worst cost of living crisis in 40 years, discussions about fuel and food poverty are now joined by a new concern with what has become known as digital poverty – challenges affording the cost of online connectivity and devices. Using data from a survey of low-income households, this Policy Briefing explores the extent of digital poverty in the UK and shows how it can exacerbate other forms of poverty among the most disadvantaged households. It also shows how current fixes, including social tariffs aimed at the poorest in society, are not effectively addressing this critical issue.

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