Last month the Government published the results of the Public Consultation on the de-criminalisation of non-payment of the TV licence fee. The consultation was undertaken between February and April 2020. The Government decided NOT to go ahead with de-criminilisation of the TV licence fee at this time. There were, however, caveats, with the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden stating
A criminal sanction for TV licence evasion in the digital media age feels outdated and wrong, and many who responded to our consultation agreed. Whilst the delivery of decriminalisation right now is problematic, we intend to keep looking at this as we negotiate the next Licence Fee settlement and push for the reforms at the BBC that the new leadership has recognised are needed.
Here are some stats from the Consultation
- The consultation opened in February and closed in April 2020.
- There were 154,478 responses to the consultation, including from 81 organisations including the BBC.
- Responses from individuals were split with 17,652 for decriminalisation and 19,199 against. From campaign groups, there were 18,869 for and 92,831 against.
- TV Licensing found 174,416 people watching TV without a licence in 2019/20.
- The TV licence evasion rate is currently between 6.5 and 7.5 per cent.
- As at 30 June 2020, there were zero people in prison for failing to pay the fine in respect of the non-payment of a TV licence in England and Wales.
- Around 91 people have been given custodial sentences for failing to pay fines in respect of the non-payment of a TV licence from 2015 to 2018 in England and Wales.
More details of the Government response @ https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-publishes-response-to-decriminalising-tv-licence-evasion