The Government is keen to implement a £6 annual tax on households for broadband before the next election, a prominent Minister has revealed.
Stephen Timms, the Treasury Minister in charge of managing Labour’s Digital Britain plans, said today that a 50p a month levy on all UK phone lines will be contained in this year's finance bill.
The next General Election has to take place by May, 2010 – meaning the tax will be implemented in the next eight months should the Government get its way.
According to The Guardian, the levy would raise £150m to £175m a year, Timms said, for a fund to support the development of 'superfast' broadband networks over the next seven years. The Government has previously pledged to install 2MB broadband in every UK home by 2012.
Timms reiterated that his intention is to pass legislation before the next general election – which has to be called next summer.
"My aim is that we should legislate for that this side of a general election," he said at a debate on IT and the economy in London organised by BCS, the chartered institute for IT.
The Guardian reports: ‘This would present a Conservative government under David Cameron with a serious problem, since the fund could bring fast broadband within reach of Tory-voting rural areas, and dumping it could anger industry and regional action groups.’