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Which? said the headache covered both landlines and mobiles – and demanded the Government slash VAT so people can stay in touch.

The watchdog’s Rocio Concha said: “The fact millions of households have made sacrifices to prioritise their broadband and mobile connections during the crisis demonstrates just how essential these services are.”

Ofcom found an estimated 5.7 million households had at least one issue covering telecoms bills in April – the month the energy price cap soared to shocking levels.

Many missed payments or changed their service. But 3.5 million homes cut spending on other essentials, such as food and clothes, to stay connected. That was up 59 per cent from 2.2 million in February.

Which? estimated that reducing VAT on telecoms from 20 per cent to five per cent would slash bills by an average £120 a year per home.

Rocio said: “To help cut bill costs, the next prime minister should reduce theVAT paid on telecoms in line with other essential services.

“Businesses must support anyone struggling to afford bills and ensure they are able to access the best deals.”