This year’s Autumn statement takes place in the context of serious economic challenges. The cost-of-living crisis has had a profound impact on individuals and families as rising inflation has made everyday essentials like energy, electricity and broadband unfordable for many people across the UK.
We welcome the commitment from the Chancellor that universal credit will rise in line with inflation and that targeted payments of £900 will be issued next year to support those most in need.
However, we are concerned that these measures alone will not address the challenges faced by individuals and families who are having to make difficult decisions between food, heating and staying connected. Access to online services is necessary to fully participate in the modern world, but individuals are facing digital exclusion due to unprecedented levels of financial insecurity.
The Learning Foundation and the Digital Poverty Alliance are working across the UK to prevent digital exclusion and support people to stay connected during these challenging times. However, it is evident that much more needs to be done. We hope that the government recognises the role that digital inclusion and access will play in levelling up, growing the economy and boosting national productivity. We welcome the opportunity to work with government to deliver on this crucial agenda.