25 January 2007
50,000 Edinburgh residents entitled to digital TV support
John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, today called on the Government to do more to help those 50,000 Edinburgh residents who are entitled to help with the forthcoming switch from analogue to digital television.
The Government has told the BBC it must spend £600 million to help pay for digital switchover. Digital switchover is due to take place across Scotland in 2010.
Liberal Democrat research has revealed that almost 50,000 households (49,000) across the capital will qualify for assistance in switching over to digital television. This works out at around a quarter of households in Edinburgh.
On Monday Mr Barrett will quiz Culture Minister Tessa Jowell on how the Government plans to help those Edinburgh residents entitled to assistance during switchover.
John Barrett said:
“It is vital that those people who are entitled to help with digital switchover get it. In just three years, people living across much of Scotland will no longer receive an analogue signal.
“The Government should be doing far more to help vulnerable groups prepare for switchover. I am far from convinced that placing the huge costs of switchover onto the BBC is the best way to proceed. Why should the Government dump the cost of its digital switchover policy onto licence fee payers?
“The Government has said that they will be helping people who are over 75 and those with significant disabilities by providing equipment to convert a TV. There will also be help with installation and follow-up support.
“The assistance will be free to the poorest eligible households – for example those on Income Support, Job Seeker’s Allowance or Pension Credit. Other eligible households will need to pay a one-off fee.
“Digital switchover represents a huge opportunity and will bring clear benefits. I will be sure to press the Minister during questions next week to ensure that vulnerable groups across the city are not left behind.”
• Figures on the number of people entitled to support with digital switchover in each Scottish constituency were given in a parliamentary answer received by Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael. Full details can be found here.
• More details on the ‘Help Scheme’ for vulnerable groups can be found here.
• According to the latest statistics from the General Register Office for Scotland there are 214,959 households in the City of Edinburgh Local Authority Area. Full details here.
• Across Scotland, 650,000 households will be entitled to help.