The £20 a week ‘top up’ is not to stay for UC users, while furlough payments also cease and protection for those in rent arrears ends.
A study with a selection of Brits found almost a quarter struggled to pay for outgoings during the pandemic including food (43 per cent), internet (37 per cent) and mobile phone data (30 per cent). And a third believe government funding and support coming to an end later this year will have a negative impact on the financial state of the nation.
“The last 18 months have not only shown us the importance of having somewhere safe and secure to call home, but they’ve laid bare how vital staying connected to others and being able to access services and support are to people facing homelessness. Throughout the pandemic, our teams across the country have worked tirelessly to make sure that we continue to be there for the people that need us, providing vital housing, employment and wellbeing support.
“As we look ahead, we must build on this improved digital connectivity. Today’s figures show that as a nation we’re increasingly reliant on our phones and the internet, and this technology allows us to play an active part in our communities. We know we can end homelessness for good, and digital connection has a crucial part to play in helping us do this.” – Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis
Schemes and support which are set to end this year include furlough, universal credit uplift and the renter’s evictions ban. Similarly, 31 per cent think it will affect society negatively as a whole. Other general feelings about the future are worry (34 per cent) and concern (35 per cent).
And almost half believe those who received government support during the pandemic will struggle financially and feel ‘lost’ without it. The research was commissioned by Tesco Mobile and Crisis to highlight the importance of digital connectivity in helping to support those at risk of, or expecting, homelessness.
The study also found 82 per cent feel access to the internet or a mobile phone is essential to everyday life. Two thirds depend on the internet day-to-day, while another 48 per cent would be lost without their mobile phone. A third even said they would feel isolated without a digital connection.
The food shop, watching TV and films and simply doing their job were among the other things people rely on the internet for, along with booking holidays and looking for advice. Highlighting how many essential tasks now require digital access, the research also found 36 per cent typically book doctors appointments online while 61 per cent phone up the surgery. The rise of QR codes now means people use them for getting on public transport (17 per cent), ordering food and drink (30 per cent) and paying for things (22 per cent).
Similarly, 36 per cent of those surveyed via OnePoll rely on their phone or the internet for ordering repeat prescriptions. And when applying for jobs, 30 per cent do so online while 27 per cent send emails and 18 per cent have had a video call interview.
“For many of us, coming out of lockdown represents a crisis finally easing. But, as the impact of the pandemic unravels and government support winds down, many families and individuals face a frightening reality. Today more than ever, digital connection is providing access to vital support and tools.
“In partnership with Crisis, we want to highlight the importance of digital connection and it’s important role in helping to end homelessness.” – Tom Denyard, CEO of Tesco Mobile
Through Crisis’ own insights it was revealed 91 per cent of the support they have provided since the start of lockdown was delivered remotely. And 94 per cent of local authorities in England expect to see an increase in newly unemployed people made homeless.
Tesco have launched a special QR code which will be shared on social media which links directly to Crisis. As part of the campaign, celebrities including Scott Mills, Dr Zoe Williams, Denise Welch and Rebecca Adlington have been documenting going without their phones or internet access to tackle everyday tasks.