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All tenants in social housing should have access to free or heavily subsidised broadband services, it has been claimed.

Jake Berry, MP for Rossendale and Darwen, told the Guardian that people on low incomes need additional help getting online.

He suggested that social landlords should use their purchasing power to procure broadband in bulk.

"If I can get it for £3.50 [per month], they should be able to achieve even greater savings," Mr Berry stated.

"They must also retrofit this service to existing homes and include the costs in the rent, and the government must enable the cost of this service to be recovered by landlords and tenants."

The MP claimed that tackling the digital divide may provide savings for social tenants, but the benefits for the government and taxpayers "could be greater" still.

For instance, moving vehicle tax disc renewals online saves £90 million a year and NHS Direct saved £50 million in 2008 by providing basic health information on the web.

"If the government is serious about ending digital exclusion in social housing, opening up new routes to literacy and numeracy and championing aspiration, it must enable social landlords to go digital by default too," Mr Berry added.

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