UK digi exclusion: Poor families without internet access could 'miss out' on child tax credit

Government to force eligible Brits to sign up online


Brits who aren't online but are entitled to access to the Tory-led Coalition government's childcare tax break could lose out, it has been reported.

According to the Independent on Sunday, which was handed a leaked letter to MPs from Exchequer Secretary Priti Patel, up to 200,000 families could be affected when the new tax is brought in next year.

The minister apparently warned in her missive:

HMRC does not have exact figures but estimates that around 9 per cent of parents that will be eligible for the scheme do not have access to the internet. HMRC is committed to helping people use its services online and will make assisted digital options available for those currently not able to access the internet.

Patel promised that those "options" would help parents who don't have access to broadband services at home sign up for the digital-only scheme.

The Office of National Statistics most recent and final report on digital exclusion in May revealed that 6.4 million Brits, representing 13 per cent of the population, had never used the internet.

Baroness Lane Fox, who co-founded Lastminute.com, walked away from her role as the government's digital champion late in 2013. ®

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