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Offering free laptops and broadband connections to low-income households will not be enough on its own to bridge the digital divide, it has been claimed.

Earlier this week, Gordon Brown announced that £300 million in funding will be made available to help 270,000 poorer families get online.

Rhian Beynon, head of policy and campaigns at Family Action, said the Prime Minister's announcement was welcome, but claimed that the most disadvantaged families are still likely to suffer from a lack of connectivity in the long term.

She noted that around one in ten UK households has no landline, rising to almost one in three in low-income urban areas such as Greater Manchester and Birmingham.

Ms Beynon stated: "Ultimately, if digital inclusion is to be effectively supported then wider issues of financial inclusion need to be addressed."

She said people on the lowest incomes not only lack the money for broadband connections, but also the mainstream bank accounts with which to facilitate the direct debits required by telecoms firms.

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