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30 November 2005

STEVENSON RAISES DIGITAL RECEPTION IN PARLIAMENT

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has raised the issue of lack of digital television reception in Parliament. Speaking in a debate on the subject, Mr Stevenson said that there was a “big difference between switch-over and analogue switch-off”.

Speaking after the debate, Mr Stevenson said:

“People who are lucky enough to live in the right place can already access digital television by picking up a set-top box for a reasonable, one-off cost. In Banff & Buchan however, for many people this is not an option and the increasing number of digital channels can only be accessed through cable or satellite, which are far more costly and disruptive to install.

“I note with concern the BBC’s desire to increase the licence fee by 2.3% above inflation. It is extremely frustrating that not all licence payers are able to receive the entire package of programmes from the BBC. I feel that taking this into account, it is simply wrong to expect them to pay the same level of licence fee and there is a very strong argument in favour of a ‘no see, no fee’ television licence.

“The BBC have said recently that they wish not only to see an increase in the licence fee, but an increase which is above inflation. It therefore cannot be right that my constituents are expected to subsidise the costs of channels such as BBC3 and News 24 when they cannot access those channels. It’s a bit like paying for a set meal in a restaurant but being told you can’t have your pudding because you have chosen to sit too far away from the kitchen.

“It is unfair, and the North of Scotland deserves better.”

Stewart Stevenson
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