On 5th February 2020 Baroness Nicky Morgan, Minister for DCMS announced that she will open a public consultation about de-criminalising payment of the licence fee. She said, “Many people consider it wrong that you can be imprisoned for not paying for your TV licence and that its enforcement punishes the vulnerable.” This contentious issue had a Government review in only 2015 and the recommendation was to continue with the current system. The latest figures (2018) show that a total of 129,446 people were prosecuted for non-payment and the vast majority were found guilty through fast-track prosecutions and fined an average of £176. Only five people in England and Wales were ultimately sent to prison for failing to pay a fine issued by the court.
Although the existence of the licence fee itself is safe guarded until 2027, a previous Government undermined the BBC’s funding by transferring payment of over-75s licence fee from the State to the BBC. The BBC took the difficult decision to only exempt over-75s who receive pension credit. If the sanction of prosecution for failure to pay the license fee is taken away this might mean that the BBC’s funding model goes into freefall.
It is important that our members engage with the public consultation so PLEASE click on the link below and have your say. It only takes 5 minutes (depending on how much you write!)
PLEASE SHARE WITH FRIENDS and FAMILY
We don’t have much time as the consultation CLOSES AT 5.00PM ends on 1st APRIL 2020