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Jeremy Corbyn to propose tax on tech firms to fund journalism

The Labour leader will deliver the Alternative MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh TV Festival.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will speak at the Edinburgh TV Festival (David Cheskin/PA)
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will speak at the Edinburgh TV Festival (David Cheskin/PA)

Jeremy Corbyn will propose a windfall tax on tech firms to fund journalism as he outlines a raft of suggestions for the BBC and wider media in a speech to the industry.

The Labour leader will also propose a shake-up of the way the TV licence fee is paid and set, and call for information about the social class of anyone who creates BBC content to be published, as he delivers his Alternative MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh TV Festival.

Mr Corbyn will outline proposals for a an independent fund for public interest journalism paid for by tech giants, which could include Google, Facebook and Amazon.

Facebook could be one of the companies that is taxed (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

He is expected to say: “One solution to funding public interest media could be by tapping up the digital monopolies that profit from every search, share and like we make.

“Google and news publishers in France and Belgium were able to agree a settlement.

“If we can’t do something similar here, but on a more ambitious scale, we’ll need to look at the option of a windfall tax on the digital monopolies to create a public interest media fund.”

He will also argue that the licence fee should be modernised for the digital age, with a “fairer and more effective way” to fund the BBC.

He will float the idea of introducing a digital licence fee – paid by tech companies or through internet service providers – to supplement the existing licence fee, with a view to reducing the cost for poorer households and helping the corporation compete “more effectively”.

Mr Corbyn will also propose the creation of a new independent body to set the licence fee and suggest the BBC should be placed on a permanent statutory footing “to end government control through charter renewal”.

Michaela Coel will appear on day two of the Edinburgh TV Festival (Yui Mok/PA)

The second day of the festival will include appearances from Michael Palin, a number of TV executives and Michaela Coel, who delivered the James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture – the keynote speech of the festival – on Wednesday.

Ms Coel told of her challenging experiences in the TV industry, and revealed she had been a victim of sexual assault.

The Chewing Gum actress will appear in a post-MacTaggart interview session with comic Katy Brand on Thursday.

Monty Python star Palin is scheduled to give a special preview of his forthcoming Channel 5 documentary on North Korea, while a number of broadcasting and channel bosses will take part in panels and discussions about the industry.

Day two of the festival will see comedian Frank Skinner host the Edinburgh TV Awards, with categories including channel of the year, production company of the year and TV moment of the year.

The Edinburgh TV Festival runs until Friday August 24.



From Belfast Telegraph