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UK Union Leader Calls for Tax on Text Messages

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Bob Crow, the far left leader of the UK's transport workers union has called for a tax on text messages of one penny per SMS sent to help reduce government debt.

"I'm not like one of these leftwing commentators who says: 'Oh, don't worry about the deficit.' I'd put a 1 pence tax on every text message that's sent in Britain, that would nearly wipe out half the deficit.", he told The Guardian newspaper in an interview.

According to the UK's Mobile Data Association, during 2009, some 96.8 billion text messages were sent across Britain, an increase of 23% on 2008 - plus a further 600 million MMS messages (which rely on a Push SMS to deliver the download instructions).

Based on that calculation, the UK government would net little more than £1 billion per year to offset a government deficit for 2010/11 that is expected to be around £149 billion.

Taxing text messages is not a new idea though, with taxes having been imposed in The Philippines, and proposed in many countries, including one proposal for a pan-Europe tax a few years ago.

On the web: The Guardian - MDA

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Tags: sms  text message  tax  UK