In the event of an EMP (from new weapon or atomic bomb) all the transistor gear will die and the MOD will re-issue the WS88.
The original WS88 had 6 channels (Band I approx ). The ones I used had two channels blocked off with a screw rather than internal disabled. I think they were in the old BBC1 Ch1.
The only serious proposal for Band I is European wide to use it for Digital Radio Mondial + as DAB can never give VHF-FM quality of coverage as it's on Band III. The idea is that National stations with near 100% coverage and about 1/4 as many TX sites as DAB has now (and DAB needs about x6 as many fill in low power sites to give VHF_FM coverage!).
I can't imagine why MOD is adamant. But that's normal in every country.
Legal CE marked Short Range Devices (licence free) 49MHz
Amateur is 50 to 52 MHz
Amateur also has a small allocation at 70MHz, but strictly speaking this is outside Band I.
Maybe Some Private Business Mobile?