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Phoneline tax plan scrapped
Wednesday 07 April 2010 09:37:37 by Andrew Ferguson

Opposition to the 50p per month levy, that was due to be paid on all connected telephone lines this Autumn, appears to have caused it to be scrapped in the rush to get legislation through the House of Commons prior to Parliament being dissolved next week.

The levy or tax as many prefer to call it, was intended to form the cornerstone of Labour's Next Generation Broadband project, raising around £1.5 billion between 2010 and 2017 which would extend broadband at speeds of 25Mbps and faster from around the expected 60% coverage to 90% coverage. The scrapping of the levy throws the plan into confusion, though of course there is nothing stopping a re-elected Labour Government from re-instating it.

The levy was not linked to the Universal Service Commitment (USC), which has around £200 million of funding available to it already, which is surplus from the digital switchover fund. The USC is meant to get 2Mbps broadband to virtually everyone by 2012. This task has support from the three main parties so is unlikely to change.

The reason for the dropping of the tax along with two other taxes in the Finance Bill was to ensure the bill would get passed prior to the breakup of Parliament. With the debates ongoing with regard to the Digital Economy Bill this means that clauses from the bill may still get dropped to squeeze the bill through at the last minute.

The position of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats with regards to broadband is outlined in an earlier thinkbroadband news article. The Conservatives favour waiting until 2012 to make any firm decision, and they may at that point intervene with a view to encouraging further commercial roll-out to meet a '100Mbps to the majority' by 2017. The Liberal Democrats backed the 50p tax, but wanted to ensure it had appropriate exemptions for social tariffs etc and aim for 40Mbps to the vast majority by 2017.

Comments

Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"With the debates ongoing with regard to the Digital Economy Bill this means that clauses from the bill may still get dropped to squeeze the bill through at the last minute."

It better not! The DEB is being rushed enough already, without chopping even more corners in it in which to force through something else just as stupid. How anyone can vote Labour now especially with regards to broadband i do not know.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 6 years ago
This dropping of clauses from bills, usually ones that do not have a consensus across parties is normal in the rush to finish off business.

Many would be happy if certain clauses were dropped.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
Nonsense it was dropped see they could still force through the DEB. You drop one unsavory piece of legislation to calm the noisy mob and force through your other.
Posted by timmay over 6 years ago
Should drop the whole thing until the next government is elected.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 6 years ago
The levy is part of the Finance Bill, NOT the DEB
Posted by mishminx over 6 years ago
Sadly when it comes to the DEB things are far less certain. Photographers have campaigned hard whereas the likes of the BBC have lobbied in favour. If this bill is passed then opposition parties can blame labour without getting their hands dirty.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"The levy is part of the Finance Bill, NOT the DEB"

I never said it was i was quite clear, they have dropped one unsavory piece or legislation... IE the phone tax, which many other MPs were against to calm them and garnish opposition support in forcing the DEB (a seperate piece of legislation) which again many are against through. It basically back handed deal of sorts, a case of we will drop xxx if you support us in xxx. Old as time and pretty scummy.
Posted by tommy45 over 6 years ago
Too many stealth taxes already without another one, and why should those who don't have broadband be made to pay?
And in my opinion BT already charge too much as it is, line rental a payment processing fee ,=rip off
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
Agreed tommy45, Also just to pat myself on the back......
http://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/4208-digital-economy-bill-passes-lords.html
"Labour on the other hand had to accept that in order to get the Finance Bill through the wash-up process, it had to drop the 'broadband tax', a 50 pence per month levy on phone lines to help fund next-generation broadband for the more rural areas."
Ooooo right again!
Posted by chrysalis over 6 years ago
remember when I said the 50p tax was a deliberate distraction in the bill? to distract from the real evil as in the copyright protection measures? makes sense this got scrapped as its done its job.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
Yep chrysalis i remember you saying that, and of course you were right :) Remember me saying i doubt many will go for it... Turns out that was right as well LOL... Mr Brown if he wins (deluded as usual) says he will bring it back though, in the mean time people like Rutland forge ahead with no silly phone tax... shocker!
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