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The government may not go ahead with a proposed phone line levy that could help fund the roll-out of universal broadband in the UK.

According to the Times, communications minister Stephen Timms has suggested that the yearly tax, which has been opposed by the Conservatives, may not become legal before the general election in 2010.

Mr Timms, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, told the newspaper that the annual £6 levy might not be included in a finance bill that will follow the Budget in March.

This is because the finance bill is usually split in an election year, he explained, with some of it postponed until after the new government is in power.

Mr Timms said: "If the question is, is the levy definitely going to be legislated for this side of the election, I can't say for sure.

"Things that are contentious will have to be left until afterwards."

Former communications minister Lord Carter included the proposed £6 levy in his Digital Britain report, which was published in July this year.

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