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Digital Television

Volume 455: debated on Monday 15 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate she has made of the number of people who are eligible for the digital switchover targeted assistance programme but who may not be identified by the proposals put forward in the Digital Switchover (Disclosure of Information) Bill; and if she will make a statement. (113470)

The Department for Work and Pensions holds information on the vast majority of people aged 75 or above and on all those who have an award of disability living allowance, attendance allowance or an equivalent benefit under the industrial injuries scheme. The Veterans Agency holds information about people who have an award of constant attendance allowance or war pensioners' mobility supplement payable under the pre-2005 war pension scheme.

We estimate that around 20 per cent. of people who are blind or partially sighted do not qualify on grounds of age or an award of a qualifying disability benefit—around 60,000 people in all. Therefore they may not be identified through the provisions of the Digital Switchover (Disclosure of Information) Bill.

We are considering whether the Bill should be extended to include information held by local authorities on people who are blind or partially sighted.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the outcome was of her Department's disability equality impact assessment of digital switchover and the targeted help scheme. (113576)

[holding answer 8 January 2007]: A regulatory impact assessment was published in September 2005 setting out a detailed assessment of the impact of digital switchover on consumers, particularly the elderly and those with a disability. As a result, we have taken steps to address the disadvantages that these groups face as a result of switchover, primarily through the digital switchover help scheme but also through initiatives carried out by Digital UK with hard to reach groups.

A full equalities impact assessment will be carried out if further screening identifies a need.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate she has made of the number of households which will qualify for assistance in switching over to digital television in Devon and Cornwall, broken down by parliamentary constituency. (115352)

The details are in the table




East Devon




North Devon


Plymouth, Devonport


Plymouth, Sutton


South West Devon




Tiverton and Honiton




Torridge and West Devon





Falmouth and Camborne


North Cornwall


St Ives


South East Cornwall


Truro and St Austell


1Defined as eligible benefit units.


1. Rounded to the nearest thousand.

2. Eligibility for help from the Digital Switchover Help Scheme will be by benefit unit rather than the whole household definition used by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) the Scottish Executive, the Welsh Assembly Government and the Northern Ireland Office to forecast future household growth.

3. The definition of a benefit unit is a couple and any dependent children. It excludes adults deemed to be non-dependents who, if eligible, will be able to claim assistance from the Help Scheme in their own right.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether there will be published maps detailing the frequencies to be used in each UK region that will broadcast digital television following the publication of the Ofcom document on Digital Dividend Review; and if she will ensure that adequate time is afforded post publication for those who wish to respond to the Ofcom consultation to be able to include reference to the map's contents in their evidence before the deadline of 13 March. (115631)

The matter raised is the responsibility of the Office of Communications (Ofcom), as independent regulator for the communications sector. Accordingly, I have asked the chief executive of Ofcom to reply directly to the hon. Member. Copies of the chief executive’s letter will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.