Britain to Go Forward with Broadband Tax

A tax to pay for next-generation broadband in the UK is expected to pass into law next year.

The tax, known as the Next Generation Levy, will see every home with a landline charged 50p per month to fund the rollout of superfast broadband.

It will be introduced in the Finance Bill, according to Chancellor Alistair Darling, which is expected to pass into law in 2010.

In his Pre-Budget Report speech today, Darling told the House of Commons that the tax will support the rollout of superfast broadband to 90 per cent of the UK population by the end of 2017.

"We are modernising the UK's digital infrastructure and, in the process, creating thousands more skilled jobs," Darling said.

"We have provided funding to help extend the opportunities of the broadband network to more remote communities."

The tax, first outlined in the Digital Britain report, is expected to raise about £170m each year.

The Conservatives have said that they will scrap the broadband tax if elected next year.

Darling's Pre-Budget Report also repeated earlier pledges by the government to save billions of pounds by changing the way that the public sector uses technology.

The changes include:

Saving £600m by replacing face-to-face services with online services

Saving several hundred million pounds by reducing the cost and scope of the £12.7bn National Programme for IT

Removing £600m from higher education and science and research budgets by altering student support arrangements

Shared services and more efficient use of IT across Whitehall, first identified under the Operational Efficiency Programme, will help save £8bn from government spending by 2012/13

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