Allow Foreign TV Channels on Sky

Margaret Thatcher saw the value of free speech and passed laws allowing UK citizens to easily watch foreign satellite TV channels. Freedom of speech and access to foreign sources helps democracy abroad. Yet in the UK the previous mixed-provider platform on Astra has been replaced with a system controlled by just one broadcaster, Sky. In theory non-UK channels can operate on the Sky platform, but in reality every channel is UK regulated by Ofcom or tacitly approved by Sky. It's market power makes direct competitors or types of channels Sky disapproves of unable to access the UK market. They can't get a transponder slot. If they do,m they can't get listed on the Sky EPG. If they do the cost is £25,000 or more per year.

This is an insurmountable hurdle for, say, a small French regional channel, that might want to broadcast to ex-patriot French working in Britain. A custom dish set-up is not an option for many people, particularly anyone in temporary accommodation.

The Sky platform has just 2 European channels, both bland state run "Best Of" packages. We should be strengthening our ties, not weakening them.

Not a Government issue? Not a freedom issue? Yes, Mr Moderator, it is. It will take Government action to force Sky (and Virgin, BT, etc) to carry european channels on request and at low cost, without UK regulation. (Dual regulation does not work).

Give the UK people freedom to hear the rest of the world, not just what big business wants us to hear.

Why is this idea important?

Margaret Thatcher saw the value of free speech and passed laws allowing UK citizens to easily watch foreign satellite TV channels. Freedom of speech and access to foreign sources helps democracy abroad. Yet in the UK the previous mixed-provider platform on Astra has been replaced with a system controlled by just one broadcaster, Sky. In theory non-UK channels can operate on the Sky platform, but in reality every channel is UK regulated by Ofcom or tacitly approved by Sky. It's market power makes direct competitors or types of channels Sky disapproves of unable to access the UK market. They can't get a transponder slot. If they do,m they can't get listed on the Sky EPG. If they do the cost is £25,000 or more per year.

This is an insurmountable hurdle for, say, a small French regional channel, that might want to broadcast to ex-patriot French working in Britain. A custom dish set-up is not an option for many people, particularly anyone in temporary accommodation.

The Sky platform has just 2 European channels, both bland state run "Best Of" packages. We should be strengthening our ties, not weakening them.

Not a Government issue? Not a freedom issue? Yes, Mr Moderator, it is. It will take Government action to force Sky (and Virgin, BT, etc) to carry european channels on request and at low cost, without UK regulation. (Dual regulation does not work).

Give the UK people freedom to hear the rest of the world, not just what big business wants us to hear.

Freedom from big retailer monopolies

 

While large chains provide benefits in the form of lower prices and more services, they also have their drawbacks.  Smaller, independent stores are unable to compete and so are disappearing.  This will lead to less choice and less innovation for the consumer.  Our country will also loose these characteristic shops and see them entirely replaced with a few monotonous chains.

Big chains should be encouraged in some areas, such as out of town centres, as they lead to lower prices.  However smaller retailers need supporting.

There should be different tax brackets on the revenue for retailers based on their income.  This should be adjusted so that chains can still exist, but smaller stores can also lower their prices to compete.  

Why is this idea important?

 

While large chains provide benefits in the form of lower prices and more services, they also have their drawbacks.  Smaller, independent stores are unable to compete and so are disappearing.  This will lead to less choice and less innovation for the consumer.  Our country will also loose these characteristic shops and see them entirely replaced with a few monotonous chains.

Big chains should be encouraged in some areas, such as out of town centres, as they lead to lower prices.  However smaller retailers need supporting.

There should be different tax brackets on the revenue for retailers based on their income.  This should be adjusted so that chains can still exist, but smaller stores can also lower their prices to compete.  

Repeal Ombudsman Laws/ Rules

I would like to see the repeal of the law and or rules, that stop a judicial review having full powers to oversee and reverse any of the various Ombudsman's decisions.

Widely seen as biased and untrustworthy, Most people who have had to deal with any Ombudsman department would like the total power held over them by the Ombudsman and be association, the power of big business to act as they please, to be moderated and overseen by Judicial review or by going through some other suitable route.

The way the present Laws, rules and process moves, there is no protection for the public from even the most obviously ridiculous one sided rulings the ombudsman's bodies make.

So I, and a huge body of the British public urge a reform over the Laws and rules governing the way the Ombudsman and courts interact with the pubic once a complaint about a business, council, or utility service, has been made. 

Why is this idea important?

I would like to see the repeal of the law and or rules, that stop a judicial review having full powers to oversee and reverse any of the various Ombudsman's decisions.

Widely seen as biased and untrustworthy, Most people who have had to deal with any Ombudsman department would like the total power held over them by the Ombudsman and be association, the power of big business to act as they please, to be moderated and overseen by Judicial review or by going through some other suitable route.

The way the present Laws, rules and process moves, there is no protection for the public from even the most obviously ridiculous one sided rulings the ombudsman's bodies make.

So I, and a huge body of the British public urge a reform over the Laws and rules governing the way the Ombudsman and courts interact with the pubic once a complaint about a business, council, or utility service, has been made. 

Income tax avoidance by corporate employees

There are several tax free incentives that corpoates exploit on behalf of their employees which smaller emplloyers don't know of/can't exploit on behalf of their employees. Corpoates present them along with deals from other firms as benefits -eg vouchers with money off and add them as part of a "reward package". eg Did you know that if you use a push bike for all or part of your journey to work you can claim the income tax paid when you buy a new one? this whole area should be investigated and simplified. In the past the purchase of computer equipment had a tax break too.

Why is this idea important?

There are several tax free incentives that corpoates exploit on behalf of their employees which smaller emplloyers don't know of/can't exploit on behalf of their employees. Corpoates present them along with deals from other firms as benefits -eg vouchers with money off and add them as part of a "reward package". eg Did you know that if you use a push bike for all or part of your journey to work you can claim the income tax paid when you buy a new one? this whole area should be investigated and simplified. In the past the purchase of computer equipment had a tax break too.