TVs and the internet are a necessity, not a luxury, in modern Britain, according to a poll of over 15,000 people by consumer revenge site www.moneysavingexpert.com.
In the new technology-fuelled age, these gadgets are a core part of most people’s household.
According to the survey, which asked people to select necessities for a family with children, a basic TV is essential for 49% of people, while 45% said a computer with internet access is crucial.
Figures from the Broadcasters Audience Research Board show 97% of UK homes have TVs, while, according to the Office for National Statistics, 73% of homes are connected to the internet.
Traditional must-haves such as boilers, cookers and fridge/freezers top the list of essential items.
Here’s how respondents rated how essential common households items are:
Item % who deem it essential
Washing machine 82%
Central heating 70%
Basic TV 49%
Home phone 47%
Web access 45%
Mobile phone 23%
Satellite/cable TV 6%
Games console 4%
Sample size: 15,105
Martin Lewis, MoneySavingExpert.com creator, said: “The world is changing. Without web access or contact with the wider media, some children may be disadvantaged in their education. Families who aren’t on the internet also pay more for basic facilities, so perhaps it’s to be expected that web access and TV are described as a need for some.
“This is more than just a water-cooler discussion. With spending cuts looming, when it comes to deciding what benefits should be given or what counts as a minimum living standard, it’s crucial to define what most people think of as necessary.
“Even official definitions of child poverty no longer look at the historic need for food, shelter and clothing; they rely on how much income a family has compared with the average. So in the long run, as the nation hopefully prospers, what counts as the bare minimum increases too.
“So these days 82% of people think going to the launderette should no longer be an option, as a home washing machine is needed.”
Are games consoles a necessity?
For some, the net of what is a luxury stretches even further. In the discussion on our forum, some spoke up for the 4% who said games consoles were necessary.
One user wrote: “Games consoles are a normal, standard everyday thing for children to have. If they want one, and all their friends have one, then it’s pretty essential for their happiness. A child who goes through their childhood without a console, in a society where it is expected, is having a deprived childhood.”
Another: “My little cousin was injured a while ago and has been unable to participate in any boyish rough and tumble, as well as his usual raft of team sports, for months. He said: ‘It’s just as well I’m good at Xbox or I wouldn’t have any friends left.’ He’s 10. It made me think about disabled kids and what a games console might mean to them.”
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