Consumer groups have urged broadband providers to raise awareness of social tariffs and discounted deals to help the millions of households struggling to pay bills.

The Lords Digital Committee was warned last week by experts that there is a growing risk of “digital exclusion” across the country due to the rising costs of broadband services.

Speaking for Which?, Rocio Concha said providers need to play their part during the cost of living crisis by making people more aware of the financial support and deals available to them.

Digital exclusion is now a major problem, with a third of households claiming it is difficult to pay for broadband, phone and streaming services.

Around 5m households have cut back on food and clothing expenses to remain connected to the internet.

Experts say digital exclusion occurs when people struggle to get online or don’t have devices such as mobile phones and laptops to use broadband.

Addressing these problems could generate around £13.7bn for the economy during the next decade, the committee was told.

“Over one in 20 households have no internet at all, either fixed line or mobile,” The Good Things Foundation CEO Helen Milner noted.

Cheaper social tariffs could help people on benefits, but Ms. Concha revealed just 3.2% of people who qualify for discounted deals are taking advantage of them.

Many others are unaware they exist, which the government wants rectifying.

Science Secretary Michelle Donelan also pleaded with providers to reconsider upcoming inflation-busting price hikes, which will come into force in April.