Connected Research

Union policy research in the 21st century

Tories to scrap Final Third levy?

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This morning’s Financial Times carries an interview with Jeremy Hunt, Conservative shadow minister on culture, media and sport, in which he states – amongst others – that he would scrap the proposed 50p/month levy designed to raise £175m per year in additional finance to spread high speed broadband connections beyond where network operators see the case for investment.

Stephen Timms, Minister for Digital Britain, has recently confirmed that he would proceed with plans for the levy, so Hunt’s comments may be designed to remind Timms of the convention that controversial fiscal issues are not proceeded with in a pre-election budget – although this is unlikely since it seems a more definite statement 0f what would happen under a Conservative government. Hunt hasn’t stated how the shortfall in high-speed broadband connections ‘beyond the market’ would alternatively be dealt with. He needs to. This is a vital element in the provision of high-speed broadband links in a way which is socially cohesive and which underpins a large part of of the aims of Digital Britain.

Hunt also confirms in the interview that Ofcom would not be removed in any attempt by the Tories in government to cut back on the number of quangos, but that it would be reformed from the perspective of its policy-making initiatives with these confirmed as belonging to ministerial level. Evidence that Ofcom has exceeded its remit on issues of policy, or that this has in some way caused damage either in practical terms or otherwise concerning the credibility and accountability of the policy-making process itself, has not yet been advanced.

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Written by Calvin

19/10/2009 at 2:05 pm

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