Keir Starmer’s Labour Party is tying itself in knots again:
A Labour government would enforce a cheap broadband tariff for low-income families as well as taking action on mid-contract price hikes, the shadow culture secretary will announce.
Labour will say broadband is an essential utility and that figures from the regulator Ofcom show almost a third of households (8 million) are having problems paying their broadband, phone and streaming bills. That is double the number a year ago.
In a policy launched on Thursday, Labour will say there must be an industry-wide social tariff for low-income families, negotiated by industry players such as Openreach, which runs the UK’s broadband network, with Ofcom and consumer groups.
The party will say that a failure to agree a tariff would mean a Labour government setting one and legislating to enforce it.
Universal credit claimants can already qualify for some heavily discounted broadband deals from some providers but the schemes are not well publicised or understood. There is no requirement for telecoms providers to offer social tariffs for broadband products.
Labour analysis suggests customers who are eligible for a social tariff could save an average of £250.32 a year.
The party has said it will also reverse changes that now allow wholesale broadband prices to rise with the rate of inflation, rather than costs, meaning that providers have had a £1.7bn windfall.
So Jeremy Corbyn was right – again – but Starmer’s cronies, being right-wing profit-grubbers, want to make sure someone can still make a fast buck out of the rest of us.
So they say the poorest of us may have cheap broadband (because that way the providers will at least get something from people who have next to nothing) – and the rest can pay the full whack.
Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves got short shrift when she tried to big up the policy:
But nationalising and offering it for free it was communism eh Rachel…someone always has to make a profit…
— Damien Willey, Detester of Tories. (@KernowDamo) October 13, 2022
Damo is right.
If broadband is a modern necessity, then it should be provided by the state, in the same way that necessities like water, power, and public transport should be run by the state.
That’s what the Labour Party should stand for but Starmer’s crew doesn’t. That’s why they are such a poor alternative even to the Tories under Liz Truss.
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