FINANCIAL advisers warned yesterday that limited internet access is leading to vulnerable people being sanctioned, as the Tory government seeks to move more jobs and benefit applications online.
A report found that a third of people using Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) services said they never or “very rarely” used the internet, and more than half of those surveyed said they cannot apply for benefits or jobs without help.
The survey found that both trends were highest in deprived areas.
CAS said these difficulties were leading to vulnerable people being sanctioned, citing the example of a man who had his benefits stopped because he didn’t own a computer and the library he used to look for work was shut over the Christmas holidays.
Despite these problems, the Tory government plans to move 80 per cent of benefit claims online by 2017 and is forcing people to apply for jobs online or risk sanctions.
CAS policy officer Patrick Hogan said: “Vulnerable people should not have their benefits withheld or their jobseekers’ allowance sanctioned because they are unable to use a technology that is unfamiliar to them.”