Twelve social landlords have received a share of a £400,000 government fund to get their tenants online, ahead of the roll-out of the universal credit benefits system.
The landlords will use the money for projects including mobile internet wi-fi clouds, providing expert mentors and converting TVs into internet devices.
Welfare reform minister Lord Freud (Con) said the scheme was designed to prepare tenants to claim benefits online under its new universal credit system, which is being rolled out this year.
“Universal Credit is a major cultural change in the way people receive and access support,” he said.
“We are putting the internet at the heart of our reforms to encourage and help claimants develop their online skills.”
LGC reported last month that some of the local authority pilots of the government’s welfare reforms found more than half of social housing tenants would struggle because they did not have the right IT skills or internet access.
Birmingham City Council found 50% of the social housing tenants visiting its letting suite did not have an email address, and Lewisham LBC found 52% of social housing tenants did not have internet access at home.
The 12 social landlords that will receive funding are:
- Golden Gates Housing Trust, Cheshire
- Cottsway Housing, Oxford
- Camden LBC
- Leeds Federated Housing
- Bron Afon Community Housing, Torfaen
- Yarlington Housing Group, Somerset
- Queens Cross Housing, Glasgow
- A2 Dominion Housing Group, London
- Fabrick Housing Group, Middlesbrough
- Progress Housing Group, Preston
- Wirral Partnership Homes, Wirral
- South Essex Homes, Essex
Meanwhile, the Department for Work and Pensions has announced that the benefit cap has started in the final 40 council areas. It is due to be completed nationally by the end of September.