Government to force ‘vulnerable’ to pay double for digital TV?

Somebody please tell me this isn’t true:

The Government is asking pensioners and disabled people to pay £40 towards the cost of the digital switchover, despite digital boxes being available for as little as £20.

Government figures have revealed that up to four million people will be asked to contribute a total of £160m towards the cost of switching the UK’s television broadcasting to digital.

However, the Liberal Democrats have found that whilst people will be charged £40 for the digital switchover ‘targeted assistance’ scheme a new digital box with more advanced features could be bought from the high street for as little as £20.

The digital boxes being offered as part of the scheme could also be hopelessly out of date in just a few years time.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, Don Foster MP said:

“We were told targeted assistance would be ‘the lowest cost option’. But, like other government contracts, it looks set to be overpriced and out of date.

“Even with installation help, charging pensioners and disabled people £40 for this service isn’t much of a help scheme.

“Not only are the Government using licence fee payer’s money to fund digital switchover, they’re now charging over the odds for help to the most vulnerable.”

Bear in mind that part of the justification of the license fee hike is to pay for this.

Holds head in hands.


  1. Could it be to provide installation and (if necessary) aerial upgrades for people as well as just the boxes?

  2. That’s entirely possible – I’m afraid I always treat Don’s press releases with a pinch of salt. Nevertheless, it does seem odd to link installation with a specific model of set top box. It recalls pre-privatisation British Telecom.

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