BBC says Licence Fee could be added to council tax, broadband or energy bills to help stop evasion

THE BBC has suggested the annual £157.50 TV licence fee could be incorporated into a household's broadband, council tax or energy bills.

This could make it easier to collect, it says.

The government is currently running a consultation into decriminalising licence fee evasion.

It is suggests people who fail to pay the fee but watch live TV anyway could be issued with a fixed penalty notice, instead of being taken to court.

But the BBC says this move could cost it up to £1billion over the next five years and trigger huge cuts to programmes.

It instead proposes that it would be better to make the licence fee a monthly or quarterly surcharge on household bills, which would make it more difficult for households to evade payment.

The BBC said: “In some countries the TV licence, or equivalent, is linked directly to an existing common household bill.

“For example, it is collected through electricity bills in Italy and the equivalent of council tax bills in France.

“Another option to consider as the UK progresses towards universal access could be broadband bills.”

What is the TV Licence?

Confused about whether you need to be paying for a TV licence or not? Here's everything you need to know:

  • The TV Licence funds the BBC in the UK, including its TV channels, radio and online
  • From April 1, a TV licence costs £157.50 – £3 more than it did last year
  • If you watch or record shows as they're being shown on TV in the UK, you need to be covered by a TV licence
  • You also need one if you use BBC iPlayer – even if you're watching on a mobile phone
  • If you only use online services to watch content on demand, such as videos YouTube or a series on Netflix, you don't need a TV licence
  • Your TV licence covers your household, no matter how many TVs you have (unless you're a student)
  • If no longer need a licence, you can formally let TV Licensing know – this will stop them chasing you

It also warns that the civil punishment system suggested by the government would mean people chased by bailiffs to pay up and result in county court judgments that can affect credit ratings and take six years to expire.

This would affect low income families worst, it says.

Fixed penalty notices would also not be able to be varied to take into account someone’s circumstances, the BBC adds, meaning the system will be less fair.

The BBC has commissioned independent research which predicts evasion rates will rise from the current level of 6.6 per cent to 10 per cent if the threat of a court appearance or prison is lifted.

“Evasion would rise as people would think the failure to buy a licence less serious,” the BBC said.

The latest move comes as TV licence officers are not being sent to homes or sending letters to chase late payments during the coronavirus crisis.

Here's how to watch TV legally without paying for a licence.

There were rumours earlier this year that the BBC licence fee would be scrapped and replaced with a subscription service.

The BBC has also delayed scrapping free TV licences for the over-75s due to coronavirus.

Source: Read Full Article