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New TV stealth tax

For those who feel that the TV licence is a regressive tax, Ofcom are planning to tax your TV viewing and to tax the licence fee.

For those who feel that the TV licence is a regressive tax, Ofc
published on UK Free TV

For those who feel that the TV licence is a regressive tax, Ofcom are planning to tax your TV viewing and to tax the licence fee.

The television and datacomms regulator, the Office of Communications (Ofcom) has announced new plans to tax the TV airwaves.

Using the argument that they have already set up a radio spectrum toll-booth for the MOD (the army, navy and air force), 999 services (police and ambulances) and for mobile telephone companies, Ofcom intends to tax the television.

Somehow, adding this new stealth-tax to the collection introduced already by would-be Prime Minister Gordon Brown is supposed to use the mythical market to make it "more efficient". I find it hard to understand how putting prices up for the consumer will be of benefit.

The proposed charges are:

  • £650,000 for a digital radio (DAB) multiplex. As one is owned by the BBC, this will come out of the lience fee.
  • £40,000,000 per year for analogue BBC ONE, BBC TWO, ITV-1 and Channel Four. A discount rate of £24,000,000 per year for analogue channel five.
  • £24,000,000 per year for a "public service" multiplexes, so that's another £48m per year for licence fee payers to cough up, plus £20,000,000 per year for the non-public service multiplexes.
  • £220,000 per year for a national FM radio station, of which licence fee payers will be billed for four, plus £145,000 for the right to transmit Radio 5 Live.
It is very hard to see how these figures add up. The amount of "frequency space" used by a digital terrestrial multiplex is identical to that of an analogue channel, so how £24m is justified for the former and £40m for the latter is anyone's guess.

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