|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State forCulture, Media and Sport how many complaints have been received regarding the BBC's latest proposals to increase the licence fee; and if she will make a statement. 
James Purnell: My Department regularly receives correspondence relating to the television licence fee. Since the BBC's announcement on 11 October 2005 we have received approximately 60 items of correspondence regarding the BBC's own assessment of its future funding needs. The Government are currently conducting a review of BBC funding to determine the future level of the licence fee and will make an announcement in due course.
Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what representations the Government have received from the BBC requesting that the application of the BBC television licence fee be extended to premises which do not have a television but which have access to the internet; 
(2) what consideration the Government have given to extending the application of the BBC television licence fee to premises which do not have a television but which have access to the internet. 
James Purnell: The Government have received no such representations from the BBC. However, the BBC, as television licensing authority, considers that the current definition of a television receiver in the licence fee regulations already extends to a PC that is used to watch television programme services over the internet, if they are received at the same time or virtually the same time as they are received elsewhere by conventional means.
The Government have no plans for any changes to the current arrangements but, as indicated in the BBC Charter Review Green Paper published in March 2005,
22 Nov 2005 : Column 1820W
believes that changes to the existing funding model might have to be considered if in future large numbers of people are downloading audio-visual content from the internet and watching it on their computers or mobile phones, rather than using traditional TV services.
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the additional cost to the public purse would be of reducing the age at which a free television licence can be obtained to 65 years. 
James Purnell [holding answer 21 November 2005]: The estimated additional cost of extending free television licences to all households with a person aged 65 or over would be £443 million a year, based on the current licence fee level.
James Purnell: TV Licensing, who administer the television licensing system as agents for the BBC, do not record the number of licences issued by constituency. Data by nation and region are estimated from United Kingdom figures and is available only for the last four years. The estimated number of licences issued in Northern Ireland in each of the last four years are as follows:
|Year ending 31 March||Number of licences issued|
Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many written representations her Department has received since 1 October from hon. Members concerning commercial radio and the review of the BBC Charter. 
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many contracts were signed by her Department in (a) 200506 to date and (b) 200405 for direct mail; and what the value was in each case. 
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will list the 10 highest-paid employees in her Department, broken down by (a) job title and (b) salary including bonuses; and whether the individual concerned is (i) a civil servant and (ii) a contractor in each case. 
Mr. Lammy: The information requested is published annually in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport Resource Accounts. The most recently published accounts for 200405 were laid before the House of Commons on 19 October 2005 and copies placed in the Libraries of the House.
David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps she is taking to ensure that (a) disabled and (b) elderly viewers will be able to meet the costs of the television switchover from analogue to digital. 
James Purnell: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State plans for a support scheme to provide help with equipment and installation and follow-up support for people aged 75 years and over and people with significant disabilities.
Assistance will consist of providing the necessary equipment to convert one TV set and the relevant support to install and use the equipment. The help will be available free of charge for those within the eligible groups on low incomes, and at a modest fee for others. Further details of how the scheme will operate in practice are being developed and will be set out in due course.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what her most recent estimate is of the date by which households across Coventry, South constituency will be able to receive digital terrestrial broadcasts. 
|2009||West Country, HTV Wales, Granada|
|2010||HTV West, Grampian, Scottish Television|
|2011||Yorkshire, Anglia, Central|
|2012||Meridian, Carlton/LWT (London), Tyne Tees, Ulster|
Digital switchover will enable coverage for digital terrestrial television to reach the same level as that of the current analogue signals. It will take place in the Coventry South constituency (central region) in 2011.
22 Nov 2005 : Column 1822W
James Purnell: TV Licensing, who administer free television licences for people aged 75 or over as agents for the BBC, are not able to provide geographical breakdowns of the number of free licences issued. However, the number of households with at least one person aged 75 or over claiming the winter fuel payment in the Paisley and Renfrewshire, North constituency in 200405 was 2,960, according to Department for Work and Pensions records.
Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will take steps to ensure that all programmes funded through the BBC licence fee are made available free of charge only to UK citizens. 
James Purnell [holding answer 21 November 2005]: The Government has no plans to take such steps. We do not believe it is practicable or desirable to make British citizenship a criterion for reception of BBC programmes.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|