Feeds

UK.gov won't drop 50p high speed broadband tax plans - yet

Electioneering ain't what it used to be

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

The government is still mulling the possibility of bringing in a 50p a month stealth tax on fixed phone lines to fund next-gen broadband, despite Treasury minister Stephen Timms hinting that those plans could be shelved during election year.

Uk.gov “remains committed to the timetable for introducing the 50p levy on fixed lines in 2010, as set out in the Digital Britain report,” a Business, Innovation and Skills department spokeswoman told The Register.

“We will be consulting on the 'Final Third' fund in the autumn, but no final decisions have yet been made about the legislative vehicle for introduction of the levy."

News reports emerged over the weekend that claimed Timms would axe the proposed £6 a year tax to pay for high speed broadband that had been put forward in June’s Digital Britain report. It was suggested that such a move might be considered unpopular in a general election year.

The Sunday Times quoted Timms as saying that he couldn’t “definitely” commit to such a levy being legislated prior to the election next year. “I can’t say for sure,” he said.

It’s understood that the tax will be contained in a finance bill that would follow the budget in March 2010.

However, as it will be an election year Timms, who recently replaced Lord Carter - author of the Digital Britain report - told journalists that a short bill listing popular measures was more likely to be pushed through ahead of UK voters going to the polls.

“Things that are contentious will have to be left until afterwards,” he said, according to the Sunday Times.

The Tories are widely expected to oppose the 50p broadband levy being contained in the finance bill. So should they be elected to government next year, the £6 a year tax on fixed phone lines could indeed be ditched.

Meanwhile, the Digital Britain forum has a new blog post up here. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
HBO shocks US pay TV world: We're down with OTT. Netflix says, 'Gee'
This affects every broadcaster, every cable guy
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.