Read more about our Research and Campaigns
Digital exclusion has huge consequences for individual wellbeing and massive cost implications for UK productivity, economic growth and public health. The root causes of digital exclusion reflect longstanding social, economic and regional disparities which are not easily solved.
There is rarely just one reason why people are digitally excluded and there is no single solution. It is estimated that approximately 30% of the Surrey population does not have access to digital technologies, or if they do, choose not to use the technology. We also know that this is broadly linked to deprivation, which in turn is related to poorer health outcomes.
Blue Badge delays
Anyone with a PIP award is likely to be very well aware of the long delays around review and renewal of the benefit.
One unfortunate consequence of this is the knock-on effect on Blue Badge parking permits.
If you receive the higher level PIP mobility component you are automatically entitled to a Blue Badge – but people left in limbo by the huge backlog of PIP reviews find they are having to apply for the permit in a procedure described as “worse than applying for PIP”, with no guarantee of success.
We can see evidence in our area, especially for Macmillan clients. Here’s how one of our clients was impacted:
“The client applied for a renewal of their Blue Badge seven weeks before it was due to expire. At the time of the renewal application, Surrey County Council were quoting six to eight weeks to process a Blue Badge application. The client’s Blue Badge is now due to expire in two weeks and they have not yet received the new badge. The Council has now quoted at least 11 weeks for the processing time of a Blue Badge. They are still processing badges from July 2023.
Cost of living
We’ll soon be undertaking two cost of living projects, the first aimed at rising awareness of the issue in South West Surrey through a communications campaign with key stakeholders including: partners, funders, clients, our wider community, staff and volunteers. The second project will aim to create a food poverty map for our area to highlight the depth of the issue.
Please contact: Phil Graham, Research and Campaigns Officer at email@example.com