One third of Scottish CAS clients don’t use internet

Third of CAS clients do not use the Internet. Picture: Jane Barlow

Third of CAS clients do not use the Internet. Picture: Jane Barlow

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A THIRD of people using Citizens Advice services in Scotland say they never or “very rarely” use the internet, according to a new report.

The UK Government plans to move the majority of job applications and benefit claims online by 2017, but Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) found that difficulties using computers or the internet is already hampering people’s application attempts and leading to sanctions.

READ MORE: Crisis-hit Citizens Advice Scotland may be offloaded to Holyrood

More than half of the 601 CAS users surveyed said they cannot apply for benefits or jobs without help, and both trends are highest in deprived areas.

CAS found people have had their benefits removed for not carrying out job search commitments.

It said one man was sanctioned as he did not have a computer and relied on library computers to look for jobs, but the library was closed for Christmas.

Other claimants lost benefits as they could not use computers due to literacy difficulties or because they struggle with technology.

CAS policy officer Patrick Hogan said 33 per cent of clients are “excluded from using computers or the internet”.

READ MORE: Crisis-hit Citizens Advice Scotland faces review

He said: “Vulnerable people should not have their benefits withheld because they are unable to use a technology that is unfamiliar to them.”

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