The Labour Party has pledged to give every home and business in the UK free fibre broadband by 2030. To deliver this policy they would nationalise part of BT and introduce a tax on tech giants to pay for it. The plan is said to cost £20bn although sceptics are saying this cost would be closer to £40bn.
A new company called British Broadband would run the network. Maintenance costs, estimated at £230m a year would be covered by the new tax on companies such as Apple and Google.
“We think they should pay their way and other countries are following suit,” said Shadow chancellor Mr McDonnell.
Labour has not yet completed the final details of how the internet giant tax would work
Labour has not yet completed the final details of how the internet giant tax would work, saying it would be based “percentage wise” on global profits and UK sales, raising potentially as much as £6bn.
The reaction from the public to this news has been mixed. Firstly, would Labour even be in government by 2030 to implement this plan or would a future Tory leadership have scrapped it by then? Surely a party has to justify the cost of their manifesto pledges if they want to be taken seriously and will fibre broadband even be the connection of choice by then? Other concerns is that state run internet access would have a monopoly on the infrastructure, not only damaging competition and prices but it could create issues with civil liberties and freedom of speech as they would have full control of our access and our data.
The tech giants have already managed to avoid paying taxes in the UK, thanks to their offshore tax status, so where is the money going to come from, especially if costs escalate? The default position is that it will come from the taxpayers in the UK, so your ‘free’ broadband could actually end up costing you more than £30 via extra taxes. Perhaps Labour’s plan is to spend more on broadband and less on the NHS, so by the time half the population has died, this broadband policy will be a lot cheaper to implement.
Previously in September, the Conservatives promised to spend £5bn to upgrade the hardest-to-reach 20% of the country.