To think its completely outrageous for the govt to not include internet access as a necessity on the voucher programme when

(504 Posts)

they are now demanding all benefit applications and correspondence has to be online? I think it is disgusting. Its pushing already marginalised and often vulnerable people beyond the edge. In our Borough over 20% of folk do not have internet access. These people are generally the poor, the foreign, those with MH issues. Is this just another step to ensure the poorest most vulnerable members of society have no voice or access to services?

Roseformeplease Thu 28-Mar-13 14:30:54

Sorry, I disagree. Many job applicants are not getting jobs because they are unable to apply online. However, rather than learning to use a computer or attending classes, they sometimes use this as an excuse for not applying for jobs. It is a vicious cycle in which they remain trapped on benefits because they can't apply for jobs. There needs to be free training and some further thought put into places where computer use is available (job centres?) and a longer lead in might be useful. However, ultimately, it is to the advantage of everyone to learn how to use a computer.

RustyBear Thu 28-Mar-13 14:38:33

"McDonalds is free for WiFi!"

Yes, but you have to be able to afford a device to access it - or are McDonalds providing computers these days?

(Disclaimer:Haven't been to McDs since my youngest was old enough to go by herself, and that's about 10 years)

EasilyBored Thu 28-Mar-13 14:40:47

Being able to use free wifi doesn't really help if you don't have a smart phone or laptop to access it through, does it.

The internet is an incredibly valuable thing. It can help people save money (whether through getting free advice on places like MSE, or by researching the cheapest deals, ordering shopping online, accessing information about benefits and rights/responsibilities etc), it can help reduce social isolation, is a one stop shop for most information, internet access + a laptop can replace the need for a TV so it's providing pretty much free entertainment (and when you are utterly broke, that's a good thing).. It can help you find out about free things to do with your kids. The internet would be the last thing I gave up if I was cutting back.

At our local library there is a waiting list for access to the internet. That's a great help when you need to get on ASAP to apply for a crisis loan/voucher/food parcel.

rose you are missing the point. this is about accessing benefits. not getting jobs. and maybe they have PC skills but dont a) have a pc) and b) cant access the internet? In fact in this day and age access to the itnernet is a priority as you yourself point out.

TwoBrasDontMakeABodice Thu 28-Mar-13 14:42:12

There ARE free classes for computer training. Although they aren't free. They are Govt. funded. NOTHING is 'free'. Life is expensive!

McDonalds is free for WiFi

Let them eat cake.

so how do the disabled or those with MH issues access the internet?

Roseformeplease Thu 28-Mar-13 14:43:48

But, if you have to learn to use a computer to access benefits, then that means that your skills are transferrable and you are then able to access a computer to apply for jobs. It makes you more employable and it makes it easier to seek employment. Sometimes people need to be pushed to get skills as, otherwise, the lack of those skills can become an excuse for not working. Some, of course, may never be able to work. However, computer skills will open up the world to them and will help them enormously.

or with poor english skills?

EasilyBored Thu 28-Mar-13 14:44:21

It will be an interesting cycle when you have people unable to access the internet, needing to access the government funded courses for IT skills...but not being able to because you need internet access to apply for the courses, and you can only get on the courses if you are in receipt of certain benefits. And you can't get claim those benefits because you need to do the application online...

TwoBrasDontMakeABodice Thu 28-Mar-13 14:46:00

Yes, but you have to be able to afford a device to access it - or are McDonalds providing computers these days? Don't be sarcastic, it's not necessary.
I understand you need something to access it - but, and please be realistic here - MOST people, whether employed or unemployed have a smart phone. Too many excuses being made in my lowly opinion.

what part of needing a device and the money to pay for even a cup of coffee did not impinge Twobras? a single parent with two small children applies for a crisis loan because benefits have been suspended because she does not have internet access...you thinks she's got money for coffee?

ProfYaffle Thu 28-Mar-13 14:46:49

I'm a volunteer at the CAB, so far as I'm aware CAB's are going to extra funding to install pc's for public use. I think the Job Centres are supposed to have some too. There will also be a telephone helpline, not to apply online but to talk people through the application, step by step.

That's the theory anyway, how it will work in practice remains to be seen.

MansView Thu 28-Mar-13 14:47:43

I agree with the OP - they should have internet access - and while they're at it - a free laptop, sky subscription, oh yeah - and a nice big plasma to go with it...

Maggie111 Thu 28-Mar-13 14:48:20

I'm sorry - but you can go to the local library if you choose not to buy the internet with your benefits.

If the internet is a necessity... then surely a computer is one too?? So people get money for the internet, but no computer...

the fact remains twobras that a substantial portion of society do NOT have internet access, and the corrolation is that that portion is usually the most poor disadvantaged and who are now being told they HAVE to use internet to access services. All your thinking its all excuses does not the change that fact.And while we are at it, will the emergency loan voucher permit the purchasing of phone credit? we are talking real poverty. it exists.

TwoBrasDontMakeABodice Thu 28-Mar-13 14:48:58

so how do the disabled or those with MH issues access the internet?

Are you INTENTIONALLY ignoring the fact that my first post said 'aside from those with MH issues or those that are disabled'?

I have the courtesy to read your posts before replying;please do so with mine.

EasilyBored Thu 28-Mar-13 14:49:05

We have a project through my work (funded by the local council) that provides laptops (free) and about three months internet access (after that you have to pay for your own access, although we have some funds to help people with that). It has been recognised by the council that internet access, especially for poor, elderly or otherwise vulnerable people can be life changing.

TwoBrasDontMakeABodice Thu 28-Mar-13 14:49:47

what part of needing a device and the money to pay for even a cup of coffee did not impinge Twobras? a single parent with two small children applies for a crisis loan because benefits have been suspended because she does not have internet access...you thinks she's got money for coffee?

She doesn't need to buy a bloody coffee - it is FREE. Jesus...

yes but they still have to access it. the voucher scheme does not differentiate between healthy and not healthy. So what do you propose?

EasilyBored Thu 28-Mar-13 14:50:58

It's not free to sit in McDonalds and use their internet. They're a bit funny about people just hanging around inside to keep warm. Like most places!

she has to purchase something to be able to stay on the premises.

usualsuspect Thu 28-Mar-13 14:52:07

How can you not see that this will make some of the poorest peoples lives more difficult?

Or don't they matter?

TwoBrasDontMakeABodice Thu 28-Mar-13 14:52:21

There are Govt. funded agencies who provide laptops/PCs etc to those that need them. It has been going on for years where I am from. If people are on the poverty line they will be looked after - they just need to ask for the help.

I work with people in poverty and those who are doing what I'm sure TwoBras you would approve of, budgeting, don't have smart phones. Because they can't afford them. Or McDonalds. We talk about budgeting for good food, meal planning and eating at home in the class. We don't talk about using your smart phone at McDonalds. Oddly.

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