Digital Economy Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:12 pm on 13th September 2016.

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Photo of Chi Onwurah Chi Onwurah Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport) 1:12 pm, 13th September 2016

The right hon. Gentleman raises two very important points. There is no clear idea of how the Bill deals with such sites, in particular sites for which no commercial payment is made. There are also privacy issues throughout the Bill. That is one area on which we will seek to work in Committee.

A 21st-century economy needs the infrastructure to deliver a digital economy, so reform of the electronic communications code is long overdue. Frankly, I am very glad the Government have finally begun to build on Labour’s Communications Act 2003. We are concerned, however, that proposals to lower base station rentals may reduce even further the revenues to funding-starved local authorities and we want to hear how the Government will protect them. Newcastle City Council, for example, stands to lose £300,000 a year, which could go to social care, transport and the skills training my constituents rely on.

We also welcome proposals to bring aspects of our copyright law into the 21st century, rewarding artists and our creative industries for the huge contribution they make to our economy. Again, we shall seek to test in Committee how effective the proposals will be in practice.