§ Dr. Howells
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what extra resources will be made available to the Office of Telecommunications as a direct result of its responsibility for regulating access to digital broadcasting networks; what plans he has to meet the additional costs involved by a levy on broadcasters; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Ian Taylor
[holding answer 17 February 1997]: The level of resources available to Office of Telecommunications is a matter for the Treasury. However, Oftel's cash limit increased to £10.4 million for 1997–98, compared to £9.1 million for 1996–97. This increase was partly in recognition of increasing enforcement responsibilities, including in relation to digital broadcasting. The allocation of resources within this total is a matter for the director general and I have asked him to write to the hon. Member. Oftel is funded by licence fees paid to the Government. The supply of conditional access to digital televisions is regulated by Oftel through a class licence granted by the Secretary of State under section 7 of the Telecommunications Act 1994. The licence contains provisions to allow the Director General of Telecommunications to set licence fees payable by operators of conditional access systems authorised by the licence. The director general will set fees for any licensee to reflect the level of enforcement activity required by the general nature of the activity involved and by any particular licensee. Accordingly, the costs of enforcement will be borne by the conditional access operators and there are no plans for a general levy on broadcasters for this purpose.