As the cost of living crisis intensifies, households across the UK will look to their budgets to see which, if any, non-essential costs could go. But one that’s unlikely to be given up by most is the cost of staying connected to the internet.
In exclusive polling by The Big Issue, more than 1,600 members of the public had their say on how their lives would change if they lost digital access – and the findings proved that being able to afford, and use, the internet is a necessity for creating an equal society.
When asked how their lives would change if they lost access to digital technology overnight, nearly a quarter of respondents said it would wreak chaos in their professional lives.
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The testimonies – produced by an independent Big Issue-commissioned YouGov survey, in association with O2 – flagged fears of losing jobs, incomes and the ability to get back on the employment ladder.
This was closely followed by worries around how difficult it would quickly become to manage the crucial parts of everyday life, from banking – with nearly half of in-person UK bank branches closing since 2015 – to keeping up communication with friends and families to avoid the painful social isolation laid bare during the pandemic.
The loss of digital access – whether by no longer being able to afford devices and connectivity, or no longer having the skills to use the technology – would simply be a “disaster”, dozens said.