Tom Levitt

Tom Levitt former Labour MP for High Peak.


Digital Economy Bill

Letter to constituent

Dear xx
Thank you for letting me know of your concern about aspects of the Digital Economy Bill. Government business managers have now managed to find a slot for its second reading debate in the Commons on 6 April. It has already completed its detailed consideration in the House of Lords where it has completed all its Parliamentary stages, so concerns that it will not be fully scrutinised can be allayed.
It is inevitable that the Bill will not have the time to complete all its usual stages in the Commons which might normally include a further consideration in the Lords. Like many other important bills it will therefore be caught up in the 'wash up', the period of 2 or 3 days in which the legislative agenda is cleared, as far as possible, immediately an election is called. By and large, only those bills which the Opposition agree to will be fast tracked, which means controversial ones are unlikely to succeed. I do expect this Bill to be agreed, however.
One of the issues which has caught constituents' attention has been copyright. Of course a balance has to be struck between the rights of copyright holders and the freedom of the internet; deciding where to fix such a balance and how to enforce it will always be controversial. However, I hope that the enclosed briefing from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills will reassure people that every effort has been made to get this balance right.
The Prime Minister has announced plans to supply universal access to broadband, creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs, by 2012. 90% of UK households will have access to next generation broadband by 2017. The universal nature of this pledge ensures that those who live and work in areas like High Peak will not miss out. I have written to BT to ask about their specific plans for High Peak and I will write again when I have their reply.
Yours sincerely,