Almost 50% of British people think broadband is a ‘human right’ while 60% couldn’t live without it

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Almost 50% of British people think broadband is a ‘human right’ while 60% couldn’t live without it

6th March 2017

Britons now class broadband, smartphones, access to social media and even coffee machines as one of their ‘human rights’ despite the fact that so many are struggling to afford items such as toothpaste, shampoo and basic household products.

Research carried out by In Kind Direct, a charity founded twenty years ago by HRH The Prince of Wales to distribute donated consumer products to charities across the UK, has found that Britons suffer from a sense of entitlement when it comes to what they class as everyday essentials. A staggering 46 per cent maintain that broadband has become ‘a modern human right’ and 60% of Brits saying they simply ‘couldn’t live without’ it. In fact, almost half of those polled said they would find it impossible to function without their smartphones.

Shockingly, it seems the need for these modern day ‘essentials’ is so acute that the average Briton said they would go two whole days without brushing their teeth if it meant they could keep hold of their phone.

A smartphone addicted six per cent of 18-24 year-olds even say they would forgo brushing their teeth for three weeks or more in order to cling onto their phone.

Meanwhile, the average Briton would trade access to a bath or shower for two days if it meant they could keep on using social media.

The startling research suggests that whilst many thousands of people in the UK are at risk of or experiencing homelessness, living in poverty or struggling to afford everyday essentials such as toothpaste, sanitary products and warm clothes, many of us seem to have lost sight of what really are essentials.

Robin Boles, In Kind Direct CEO said:

“This research paints a very curious picture into our psychology an odd reality of what is actually important and truly represents need in our lives. Here at In Kind Direct, we are called upon daily by charities to provide items such as nappies, toothpaste and warm clothes which help people who are struggling to afford the basic essentials in life. In fact, four in five of the charities in our network provide this kind of support for people in crisis.”

Last year, the charity saw an increasing need for basic products, with findings showing a spike in people being unable to afford everyday items such as toothpaste, razors, nappies and basic household goods.

However, as a nation it seems other items factor higher than many everyday essentials, with:

  • 45% saying they couldn’t live without email
  • 21% would be lost without satellite TV
  • 13% would struggle to live without their coffee machine
  • 54% wouldn’t cope without their trusty washing machine
  • 41% couldn’t live without their car

In Kind Direct’s unique model enables manufactures and retailers to put their surplus stock to good use by donating it for distribution to charities. Over the last 20 years, In Kind Direct has supplied goods worth over £165 million to 8,000 charities.

After its busiest year to date in 2016, the charity, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, is calling on more manufacturers and retailers to become involved in product giving, which can benefit their business, communities and the environment.

As for the polling results, it seems all is not lost. An overwhelming 92 per cent of the 2,000 adults surveyed admitted that in 2017, they now take so much for granted they have lost sight of what represents basic needs in life. In Kind Direct provides a fresh reminder of what life’s essentials are by distributing products that many take for granted to those who can’t afford them.

Five modern day human rights:

Broadband 46%
Toothpaste 41%
Fridge 39%
Email 33%
Smartphone 26%



About the survey

The results included in this news release are based on an online poll commissioned by In Kind Direct which surveyed 2,000 UK residents aged 18-75 between 15 and 20 February 2017.
About In Kind Direct

In Kind Direct is one of The Prince’s Charities. In Kind Direct distributes new consumer products donated by some of the UK’s best known retailers and manufacturers to over 8,000 charities working in the UK and abroad.
In Kind Direct is a one-stop solution providing the infrastructure to accept large quantities of goods and then stores, sorts and delivers them directly to charities in its network.
In Kind Direct has made a powerful impact on communities through the distribution of over £165 million worth of surplus goods from 1,000 companies including some of the UK’s best known manufacturers and retailers: Amazon, Procter & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark, Asda, Wilko and Colgate-Palmolive.

More information available on the In Kind Direct website: