AN alliance of the Democratic and Liberal parties blocked the Government's proposal to increase the annual licence fees for two terrestrial television stations from $1,000 to $1.04 million. They pushed through a motion by Democrat Albert Chan Wai-yip to repeal the Government's proposal by a vote of 28 to 25. Urging legislators to help freeze the existing sum, Mr Chan said the increase would bring financial pressure on the two broadcasters concerned. The Government planned to increase the fee to $9.6 million over 10 years, Mr Chan said. He said that ATV and TVB had already paid royalties of $210 million and $57 million respectively for 1994-95. Although he agreed that the Government should recover its costs in accordance with the user-pays principle, he said such a policy must be implemented reasonably and fairly. Brian Chau Tak-hay, Secretary for Recreation and Culture, said he was disappointed by Mr Chan's motion. He said the two licensees should foot the bill for licensing. He warned that if the regulation was repealed, taxpayers would have to continue to foot the bill for these two television broadcasters. The leader of the Liberal Party Allen Lee Peng-fei, however, argued that the existing annual licence fee was fixed at a symbolic $1,000 in 1988. It had been based on the understanding that the costs for licensing would be recovered through royalties. Both Mr Chan and fellow Democratic legislator Andrew Cheng Kar-foo believed it would be more appropriate to review the existing amount after the Government had completed its review of the subscription television market. Mok Ying-fan of the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood argued that the increase would not result in the two broadcasters having any financial difficulties. Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong legislator Ngan Kam-chuen said the rise in licence fee would not erode the broadcasters' competitiveness. Confederation of Trade Unions legislator Lee Cheuk-yan opposed the motion, maintaining his stance that livelihood was the guiding issue. 'If the Government has any money left, it should be spent on the needy rather than on the wealthy,' Mr Lee said. In a separate motion sponsored by Edward Ho Sing-tin, legislators blocked the Government's plan to increase the registration fees for structural engineers, building contractors and ventilation contractors by nine per cent. Legislators argued that the Government had over-recovered by more than $2 million in 1994-95.