TV licence decriminalisation consultation opens

  • TV licence decriminalisation consultation opens

TV licence decriminalisation consultation opens

On Wednesday she will launch a public consultation on whether non-payment of the licence fee should be decriminalised, admitting such a move would "have an impact" on BBC funding.

"Equally it would not be right to maintain it in perpetuity given the very profound impact that would have on many BBC services".

The BBC retaliated by telling the Government it must not "fundamentally undermine" the corporation's ability to deliver programmes its viewers and listeners "love".

"(The licence fee) is the price of a cup of coffee a week at the moment.

In a statement published by the BBC, it was announced that the annual television licence fee will increase from £154.50 to £157.50.

Aiming to avoid the inevitable media onslaught against the rise, the BBC was quick to note that the new fee equates to just £3.02 a week and that in the last financial year 95% of the BBC's controllable spend went on content for audiences and delivery, with just 5% spent on running the organisation.

In December, Boris Johnson said he is "looking at" abolishing the licence fee. It reaches the most people.

Baroness Morgan wrote in the Daily Mail that the government's role was to "help public service broadcasters be better prepared to meet the challenges of the digital age".

Lord Hall announced at the end of January that he would be standing down as the BBC's Director-General.

Mr Cummings is thought to be behind Number 10's current ban on Government ministers appearing on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, which he has advocated in the past.

He added: "A detailed government-commissioned review found the current system to be the fairest and most effective". It could instead mean it would become a civil offence similar to non-payment of council tax or electricity bill.

A BBC spokesman said: "Of course it is important that any system commands public respect and we hope that any debate about the future is based on the evidence".

"We have a settlement agreed with the government and any substantial changes to the BBC's income should be considered as part of the next licence fee settlement", the spokesperson said. Fines for non-payment can be as high as £1,000 and anyone who fails to pay the fine can be imprisoned.

It said more than 121,000 people were convicted for licence fee evasion in 2018, but the BBC pointed out that only five people in England and Wales were jailed for not paying court fines.

Last week, Match Of The Day host Gary Lineker said that buying a TV licence should not be compulsory.

People will be asked for their views on whether criminal sanctions for the non-payment of the licence fee should be replaced by an alternative enforcement scheme.

It will allow people to spread the fee out into a number of manageable instalments.

Caroline Abrahams, Age UK's charity director, said: "A £3 a year increase to the TV licence fee may not sound much but will be yet another blow to the hundreds of thousands of over-75s who will struggle to afford a TV licence from June".

The move comes after the UK's Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) introduced a Statutory Instrument to Parliament, bringing on the licence fee increase.