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Friday, 5 May, 2000, 09:31 GMT 10:31 UK
How should we spend the mobile windfall?
The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister), Gordon Brown, has said that the money will be used to reduce the national debt.
Some people have suggested that the money would be better spent on things like improving public transport, education and the National Health Service. Do you think the Chancellor is being tight-fisted? Tell us how you think we should spend the mobile windfall.
When will these idiots learn? You shouldn't give the windfall money to declining industries. If they are having problems it is probably because they are rubbish. The sooner they go to the wall and let better companies take over, the better.
The money should be given back to the mobile phone operators. In other countries governments are investing in telecommunications infrastructure, enabling businesses to take advantages of the facilities they offer. As usual the UK government is only interested in the short-term gain for themselves without looking at the bigger picture.
Alastair Robertson, Scotland
It's probably worth saving to bail out the companies that got carried away with the bidding. They are never going to make this money back before the next fad comes along, which will cost them again!
How reassuring to find this type of discussion underway. In many parts of the world, in countries with very different political cultures from that of Western Europe, large sums of state revenue would simply disappear into the hands of the politicians.
To Eddie from the USA; by paying of our national debt we will pay off the enormous loans we took out to fund WWII and the rebuilding afterwards.
I think you Americans have had enough off us already!
Laki Singh, UK
Mobile phone frequencies are a licence to print money for the operators. So selling them for what the operators think they are worth is obviously reasonable.
And, as has been pointed out by other, paying off the national debt will free some £2bn a year for spending increases or tax cuts. Tax cuts would be inflationary, so I'd like to see the money (the £2bn, not the £23bn) used for carefully targeted non-inflationary spending.
I know, let's use it to develop portable screens to protect us yet more microwave radiation!
Michael Kilpatrick, Cambridge, UK
I suggest that Gordon Brown sends a cheque for £22 billion to me. The nation would then benefit enormously from the trickle-down effect of my spending.
Good job Mr Brown - if he said he'd spend it, it's amazing how many whingers would turn up demanding money. Paying off national debt will mean anyone requesting money later will be subject to the normal rigours of getting money at the tax-payers expense - the legitimate ones will get the funding they need when they really need it and the pointless/inefficient/not-meant-to-be-done-by-governments type tasks will get rejected (hopefully!)
The money came from technology so it should go back in to Technology. We need more computers in schools, and in other areas of the community, it's the way forward and these skills are needed now!
Why not divide up the money amongst everyone in the country. I have plenty of debt I could repay.
Use it to upgrade homes for the elderly so they don't die of cold - and generally improve the housing stock so our poor don't live in squalor.
I believe that the government should use 50-60% of the revenue from the mobile auction on the national debt as it is important in the long run. However some of the money should be used in education and declining industries.
Part of the windfall should go towards the Rover car company. It will be a small price to pay for keeping 50,000 off the dole queue.
Some of it should also be spent on giving the pensioners a decent increase.
A wise investor should always pay off their debts before spending.
How about rewarding everyone who is working to keep this economy prosperous by a one-off tax-free allowance extension of £3000 - thus handing everyone around £700 extra cash. Also this would be given after the next general election, thus not to be seen as a bribe.
The government should not spend the money at all. It should not even have the money. The auction was a mistaken idea in the first place. This vast tax will raise the price of mobile phone services to such an extent that the UK will fall behind more intelligent countries that allocate their wavebands to those who offer the lowest prices/best service. The government should restart the process on this basis before it is too late.
However, just think of the difference this money could make in the 3rd World countries? Robin Hood had the right idea! And just for the record - I am a mobile user!
C Hayford, UK
Paying the debts would put the UK plc (particularly government) in a stronger position and therefore could lead to the continued rise in the pound. This rise in the pound would keep inflation low enabling lower interest rates, greater investment, higher growth and greater tax revenue.
This tax revenue could be used to reduce tax in e-commerce related activities and help make the UK a leading centre for e-commerce. Gordon Brown is not a stupid as some people might think.
Matthew Redden, UK
I think the government should use some of the money to save Rover from closure. I think it is disgusting that the government will not do this , and to talk about paying of national debt with thousands of jobs in danger is obscene when a tenth of this capital could save British manufacturing.
Dr Bhogal, UK
They might consider loaning some dosh to Tottenham Hotspur-interest free. Other than that Spurs are headed for another mediocre season.
Seriously though, there's no reason why they can't use half of the money on the national debt and a good portion of the rest to encourage research and development in UK business/industries. You can't ignore the national debt - the interest payments suck money away from the hospitals and schools. At the same time you need to keep an eye to the future. Business success will also result in increased tax revenue.
It's happened again, the government has ripped off another market place, £22.5 billion for frequencies they don't even own? This is just crazy, and ultimately, it will be the consumer who will pay, ie. increased line rental cost on mobile tariffs etc. We in the UK are subject to the highest taxes in the world, including paying 85% in tax on petrol. Surely the British public cannot go on being ripped off like this!!
If Labour use this money on the NHS or public transport, what happens when the money runs out in a few years time? There will be better services, but with no money to keep them going.
Why is it that when the government has spare money to spend, they never to do anything good with it like improving local communities and equipping them with better leisure facilities.
If all our communities had better health facilities such as gyms, tennis courts, then the NHS wouldn't have to spend as much as more people would be getting exercise!
As a one-off windfall the money should be used for a "one-off" purpose. The NHS needs sustained funding; there is little point in building a hospital you can't maintain for example. The
National Debt would be logical, as it costs money each year on the interest payments. The analogy is winning a small lottery prize: do you pay off your mortgage or have a luxury holiday?
The money that the Chancellor raised is just a SALES TAX. A reduction in VAT would be the best recompense.
Take a 40% stake in Rover/Phoenix (like the French State in Renault) to enable it to purchase both Land Rover and Mini before it is too late. For the rescue bid to have any chance of being viable the best pickings in Rover must not be allowed to go elsewhere.
The UK will pay the price in the long-run as the high cost of the technology will mean that it gets left behind in the move to a wireless digital world.
You can use it to pay back the United States for the loss of its soldiers in two of your stupid European wars!!
The UK government is spending a lot of time and money developing the Internet for everyone.
The £22bn gained from this licence auction should be used to develop this. The Internet will
soon be available on mobile phones so the money should be used for their development also.
I think it's high time the UK owned up to its responsibility to its erstwhile colonies. A billion pounds would go a long way to solve some of the problems in Africa (especially). Besides, we are still talking of debt forgiveness.
Some of this extra cash could be used for this!
We are informed the UK has the highest crime rate in European Union - a result of a grossly under-resourced and demoralised police force. Of far higher priority than the national debt must be the national crime rate and the urgent rebuilding of both the nation's police force and public confidence in them. This must be accompanied by an urgent overhaul of the justice system and those who administer it - they do not serve well the law abider. This is the area where Gordon Brown should be targeting his windfall.
What a waste! The desiccated human calculating machines that run HM Treasury are allowed to let this windfall soak away into the National Debt payments. Instead it should have been ring-fenced to restore the NHS. However I expected no better of this Phoney New Labour Government, trying to out-Thatcher the Tories.
Andrew Levens, UK
No question, part of the windfall should go to counselling of habitually annoying mobile phone users to GET A LIFE.
A labour Chancellor makes 35 billion in one hit, that beats the hell out of the Tory one who lost 7 billion in one day. He should spend as he and the government see fit.
How about 17.5 billion each way on Amethyst for the 1000gns at Newmarket!
I understand the Royal Navy could do
with some helicopters...
I believe Gordon Brown is right to use the money to reduce the national debt. This in turn will reduce the burden on tax payers who are at the moment financing such a debts. At 6% pa, such debt equals to 2.1 billion dollars a year. Question is... what will Gordon Brown spend that 2.1 billion dollars on.
This is just a tax on mobile phones. However, for once the Government is doing something sensible with the money, even if it should not have had it in the first place.
With even half of this money, the tube could be saved, all the bus lanes you want could be installed, cycle only routes could be provided and new light rail services constructed in major towns around the country.
First, its not a windfall. The government got this by "selling" something it didn't own. Spending it on reducing the national debt is probably the sensible thing to do if for no other reason than spending it on anything else just creates an expectation to do the same next year, and that just means more and more taxes.
Equip buses and trains with a cabinet labelled "Break Glass in Case of Loud Mobile User"
that contains a handy wooden mallet...
Margaret Jean Lees, West Yorkshire, UK
Now Alchemy has pulled out UK PLC should take a 49% stake in a knock down Rover, Phoenix et al could take the remainder with an option to buy the other 49, get Honda back on board - sort it out, make a nice little profit for HMG and get those heartlands blasting the Red Flag once more :)
The money should be used to expand the existing motorways and improve the rail networks.
It should be clear that this money is a windfall for the taxpayers of the UK, and not a personal jackpot win for Gordon Brown. Anyone who feels sorry that the poor naive telecom companies have been ripped off by the nasty government need to have a severe reality check!
Gordon Brown should use the windfall to reduce income tax just before the next general election, thus ensuring a second term of Government for Labour. Hmm doesn't that sound just a little bit familiar?
I think it should be spent on a huge party in London.
Free drink all night.
But they should also use it to increase mobile phone use/access amongst the less well-off, in the same way as they are funding PCs/internet access in certain schools, libraries, council estates etc. If this new mobile internet technology is expensive to start with, it seems vital no-one should be excluded from the benefits, just because they can't afford it. I guess that's called redistribution of wealth!
Simon Grossman, UK
Matthew Illsley, England
Who cares? They give you brain tumours anyway. If I wanted that much radiation being blasted in my brain, I'd shove a plutonium rod in my ear! Stick to normal telephones I say and hell with mobile phones.
They have spent billions for the
right to provide the service.
Consumers will pay for their use of it.
Including a profit percentage.
The government will first auction the licences with high fees. The operators will charge all those fees to the users. The government will tax the operators for the profit they made on the users and the operators will add that tax on the prices to the users.
One of the contributors mentioned that TIW have no customer base/infrastructure - that is wrong. TIW already operate a TETRA network in this country called Dolphin which is mainly designed for business users. So in fact, all the companies who have won already have a presence in the UK market. I expect 3rd generation mobile prices to be expensive to begin with (Just like Cellnet/Vodafone) back in the day. Eventually prices will come down. The excessive licence costs will just mean less of the "fat cat" profits.
It seems amazingly silly for one bit of the DTi to be telling communication companies to reduce the cost of access to the Internet while another is making it as expensive as possible for mobile users.
Graham Doubtfire, UK
People should be clear that they will pay the $35 billion extorted by a government who had no right of ownership over those frequencies anyway. There are no two ways about it, the government basically said "if you want these frequencies you must buy from us or we'll stop your operation". A simple racket worthy of any gangster.
Firstly, as a electronics engineer let me take this opportunity to inform the public that these new phones and some systems presently in use are more dangerous to the health, i.e. it is a fully digital transmission system. The old analogue transmission systems were safer.
Without any doubt, the customer will pay for silly, eye damaging services like surfing the net on a tiny screen, technology always brings a plus and a minus point.
The mobile phone companies have got to get their money back somehow - looks like the only thing that will happen is that the bills will increase and Blair will probably waste the money for short term political gain for the next election.
It remains to be seen if five networks can survive, four will. TIW is brave - no customer base nor any infrastructure. Vodafone and BT can easily pay for the License, as they are large companies. Deutsche Telekom can bankroll One to One and so can the new owner of Orange. As Orange has won a license, Vodafone will be get more money in disposing Orange.
I personally think NTL have made the correct decision. They have realised that a much more viable (and less expensive) option will be to buy a company that has today won a licence.
27 Apr 00 | Business
UK mobile phone auction nets billions
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