Wednesday 17 July 2019

Come clean on new TV licence fee, White urged

Alex White
Alex White

Mark O'Regan

Communications Minister Alex White has been urged to "come clean" on the future of the controversial broadcasting charge.

The proposed €160 charge was to be a replacement for the TV licence fee.

It was originally to be introduced this month on all eligible households, regardless of whether they owned a TV.

The Communications Minister has insisted the charge has not been shelved - and that the levy will be introduced in the future.

Proposals will be brought to Cabinet next year to help "prepare the ground" for the new levy, he said.

But Fianna Fail communications spokesman Michael Moynihan insisted Mr White needs to provide greater clarity on the matter.

"Alex White said it has been postponed - but in political terms means it's been shelved," he said. "It's another commitment the Government gave, and have yet again failed to live up to expectations.

"They said they would reinvent the wheel but they've failed. A previous minister said it was coming in, but it has clearly been shelved,'' he told the Irish Independent.

"There are a whole raft of issues around the broadcasting charge, and whether we are getting value for money from the state broadcaster."

The charge is considered politically difficult to introduce, given a series of levies introduced in recent years, including the property tax and water charges, coupled with tax increases.

Mr White said the charge was not a new levy, but a replacement for the TV licence fee.

Sinn Fein communications spokesman Michael Colreavy said reassurances must be given that the amount will not exceed the current TV licence fee charge of €160.

"This must not be another form of taxation that's being surreptitiously added," he said.

Irish Independent

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