Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/05/06/daily_mail_bbc_google/

UK.gov denies 'Google tax' plan

Daily Mail vs BBC, part 8,855

By Christopher Williams

Posted in Media, 6th May 2009 12:23 GMT

The government has denied reports it plans to impose taxes on Google and other search engines to help prop up the BBC.

The Daily Mail claimed ministers were considering taking money from Google to protect the BBC's digital switchover surplus, some of which had been earmarked to help fund universal broadband.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Business said there was "no basis whatsoever" for the claim. "We have no plans to impose any new taxes," she said. She said ministers are still planning to raid the digital switchover surplus to help fund universal broadband.

"As announced in last month's Budget, we intend to use some of the underspend from the Digital Switchover Help Scheme to fund the delivery of universal broadband," the spokeswoman said.

"Separately, in the interim Digital Britain Report we committed to examining the case for public incentives to aid the roll-out of Next Generation Access."

The communications minister Lord Carter said last month he was concerned that the economic case to upgrade internet infrastructure is not strong enough in rural areas. ®