Virgin Media launches cut-price broadband for those on Universal Credit

People taking up the broadband-only plan will have to provide proof of their Universal Credit status

Virgin Media will launch a cut-price broadband plan aimed at those facing financial difficulty sparked by the Covid-19 crisis.

The budget service, to offered to those receiving Universal Credit, will cost £15 a month with no fixed-term contract.

Customers will receive a limited speed of 15 Mbps, designed to help the most vulnerable stay online and apply for jobs during uncertain times.

People taking up the broadband-only plan will have to provide proof of their Universal Credit status.

Virgin Media Essential Broadband will be available from the autumn, initially for the company's existing customers.

When the account holder is no longer receiving Universal Credit they can continue using the service at £23 per month or move to another package, the firm said.

Chief operating officer Jeff Dodds said: "We know that these are tough times and that there are many people finding it more difficult to make ends meet and facing financial uncertainty.

"At the same time, the role of broadband in helping people to stay connected has never been clearer.

"Whether it's keeping in touch with friends and family, finding advice and support or searching for jobs and working remotely – broadband underpins it all.

"With this all in mind, we wanted to make sure that those customers receiving benefit payments were able to access reliable, hassle-free connectivity with enough speed to carry out essential online activities."

The move comes amid mounting warnings of mass unemployment when the Government's worker furlough scheme comes to an end in October.

According to recent figures compiled by the PA news agency, the pandemic has already claimed or put under threat more than 41,000 UK jobs in retail alone since the lockdown in late March.

Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman said: "I want to see continued efforts to protect consumers beyond the pandemic and welcome Virgin Media offering a permanent package giving vulnerable and low-income families the flexibility to continue to benefit from reliable connectivity."