I saw this piece in the New Statesman thanks to retweets on Twitter.
– Liza Cucco (@lizacucco) October 8, 2015
In the article No, having a smartphone doesn’t mean you’re not poor on “The Staggers” column/blog Liza Cucco, manager of Hackney Food Bank, clearly articulates why using smartphone ownership, and even internet access, as a measure of poverty is a red herring:
Successfully navigating 21st century Britain without interconnectivity is near to impossible; I know this, because despite stereotypes, many foodbank clients don’t actually have smartphones or even email addresses. Those who do have smartphones are not ignorant, they are savvy, choosing to allocate very limited resources to the ubiquitous multi-tool of our time, keeping essential streams of communication open. The moment a phone can’t be topped up or a contract must be cancelled is devastating to a person’s opportunity.
Regular internet access is essential to register for benefits, apply for most jobs (and respond in timely manner to emails offering interviews), to access course information in your studies, manage your bank account, communicate with your child’s school or make an appointment at your doctor’s surgery. In our immediate society, you are expected to be available at all times. Constant access may seem a necessity to a businessman, but it is just as important, if not more, to a cleaner on a zero-hours contract who must be available for work at the last minute, navigating to anywhere they need to be and keeping on top of online timecards to ensure they are paid for their work.