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Anger at 'digital TV tax'

PUBLISHED: 11:26 01 December 2009 | UPDATED: 11:07 11 August 2010

COUNCIL bosses are charging 13,000 households a digital TV tax, it has emerged. The 70p weekly levy is being used to install set-top boxes and aerials allowing them to watch Freeview programmes and Sky. But the 2012 switchover charge, also used to service

COUNCIL bosses are charging 13,000 households a digital TV tax, it has emerged.

The 70p weekly levy is being used to install set-top boxes and aerials allowing them to watch Freeview programmes and Sky.

But the 2012 switchover charge, also used to service the hi-tech equipment, has been condemned by some council tenants.

Tina Riddle, 53, of Barking, questioned the need to service aerials left on a roof and branded the tax, on top of her licence "a rip off".

She said: "I think it's a bit of a cheek. We didn't ask for the switchover."

A tenant of Rainham Road North, who does not wish to be named, received a letter dated June 3 urging residents in his block to air their views on the upgrade by June 11.

He then received a second letter, dated June 10, saying the works were going ahead because the majority were in favour.

Barking and Dagenham Council said the works in this block had been halted, adding a decision on how to proceed was imminent.

The tenant said: "Clearly, the scheme was intended to be thrust upon residents quite regardless."

The council stressed a formal consultation had not been needed as the levy is under £100 per property per year.

But it nonetheless conducted a voluntary consultation in the block in May, which had shown only a minority were against the charge.

A spokesman said: "As landlord the council has a duty to ensure its properties will enable current and future tenants to have access to a suitable TV reception.


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