Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Monday, September 15, 2014

A license for your TV?

People in the US don't think twice about getting a license for their cars. But for a television? The debate in the UK over television licenses (which fund the BBC) is ongoing.

Ministers back TV licence fee powers change
Ministers have backed plans that would give them powers to make non-payment of the TV licence fee a civil rather than criminal offence, the BBC understands…

A TV licence, which is required if a user watches or records live broadcasts on any device in the UK, costs £145.50 per year.

Those who refuse to pay face a £1,000 fine and a criminal record, as well as the prospect of jail if fines are not paid…

Culture Secretary Maria Miller has previously said "decriminalisation of the licence fee should be on the table" during the charter review.

With TV licensing cases accounting for 180,000 - or more than one in 10 - criminal prosecutions in 2012, decriminalisation could ease pressure on the courts system, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has said.

Of those prosecuted in 2012, about 155,000 people were convicted and fined for non-payment.

Ministers to review enforcement of TV licence payment
Ministers are to review how payment of the TV licence fee is enforced amid concerns about the number of people appearing in court for evasion.

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid will say more than 10% of all cases heard by magistrates involve TV licences and question whether the system is working…

[Culture Secretary Sajid Javid], in a speech to the Royal Television Society… will say the question of how the BBC enforces payment of the licence fee - currently £145.50 a year for a colour TV - must be considered now.

"In 2012/13, almost 200,000 people ended up in court accused of not buying a TV licence," he will say. "More than 50 were sent to prison… "

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