The Labour Party has revealed that it will be voting against changes to the Electronic Communications Code, which includes an agreement between the government and the mobile network on ‘national roaming’ proposals.
The party’s shadow minister for communication’s Chris Bryant explained that Labour was opposing the amendments because it believed that there could be a £1bn cost to the next parliament from the revision of the annual licence fees the mobile networks pay the government.
Chris Bryant said: ‘On Monday Sajid Javid was preaching to us all about un-costed commitments but today he refuses to put any cost on his own sweetheart deal with the mobile phone companies that was announced with brass trumpets in December. When asked directly whether this would cost £1 billion across the five years of the next parliament, he point blank refused to deny that figure.
‘Labour will not sign up to such a deal when the government has given no figures, no business case and no costs. It’s a basic question of competence and transparency. Everyone wants to see improved mobile telephone access, but the public can have no idea whether this is a good deal or not unless and until the government comes clean.’
Labour said that it did not oppose reform to the Electronic Communications Code but that the anticipated £1bn cost was too much for it to support the current amendments.
An agreement on the ‘national roaming’ proposals came after a difficult period of negotiations between the Government and mobile networks.
Mobile has contacted the DCMS and is awaiting a response.