Jail Getting Off The Table For TV Licence Fee Evasion?

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Failure to pay the TV licence fee is currently a criminal offence, and evaders can end up paying a fine or even going to jail. Soon, however, things are reportedly expected to change, with fines enforced by bailiffs.

The annual TV Licence fee, used to fund the BBC, currently stands at £157.50. Anyone who watches the BBC live, or via BBC iPlayer, has to pay the fee.

In addition, if you watch any type of live TV from any broadcaster (even an international one) – you also need to pay the fee (See our full guide on whether you need to pay the TV Licence fee or not).

TV Licence infographic 2020

Not paying the fee can get you prosecuted, and 129,446 people were prosecuted for not having a licence in 2018.

Now, according to a government source who spoke with The Times, the licence will be decriminalised soon, and failure to pay it will be regarded as a “civil debt” – similar to not paying your energy bill, for example.

The fines will then be enforced in the civil courts and by bailiffs, and those debts could also affect your credit rating.

According to The Times, this change could be announced as soon as next month, but the government is still debating on what to replace the licence fee with.

There’s been ongoing debate this past year on making radical changes to the BBC licence fee and how it is collected.

Last year, Boris Johnson ordered a review of the BBC licence fee, with its cancellation or de-criminalisation on the table.

TV licence documents

While the government is debating, the previous BBC Director-General, Lord Tony Hall, recently said the fee must remain mandatory for everyone – but the way it’s collected can change, with people who can afford it paying more than people who can’t.

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The new director-general, Tim Davie, also addressed the issue recently, saying he’s against turning the BBC into a subscription service:

“We could make a decent business out of it”, he said, “and I suspect it could do quite well in certain postcodes, but it would make us just another media company serving a specific group.”

The BBC’s current funding is set until 2027, but with the government looking into possible changes, many are expecting announcements soon.

It remains to be seen how licence fee decriminalisation will impact the amounts being collected.

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10 thoughts on “Jail Getting Off The Table For TV Licence Fee Evasion?”

  1. If the BBC stopped paying all their employees such high wages there would be no need for the over 70’s to pay for a licence.

    Reply
  2. I buy the TV
    I pay for the electric to operate the TV
    I never watch BBC and have no interest in doing so.
    So why should I pay them and be put at risk of being criminalised if I don’t ?
    Bullying tactics to increase their greed and fund their own pockets ….outrageous !

    Reply
  3. How can the BBC be legally allowed to charge monies for live channels they do not own, I can’t see how they can make that stand up to scrutiny in a court of law given most if not all other live channels make money on advertising so they do not require to charge a fee! The BBC are clearly getting too big for their boots! This is blatant greed on the part of the BBC, It’s nothing short of a (license) to print money! Everyone needs to boycott this biased group of money grabbers!!!

    Reply
  4. Great idea to decriminalise it but they also need to tell the BBC to take the station off of subscription platforms or block it if a person doesn’t want it.
    I pay for sky and bt sports because of the footy. I have no interest in songs of praise and the rest of the bs that the BBC show.
    Why should I have to pay for crap I’ll never watch

    Reply
  5. I arranged to pay with BBC licencing monthly on the 15th of every month they took my bank details I was advised licence would b sent within 10 days and ignore any other correspondence I heard nothing rang them again waited 20 mins to get tthtough call was chargeable took my details again still waiting so where do I stand it’s hardly fair is it

    Reply
  6. I future instead of prison,it will be knock knock it’s your friendly Bailiff’s as seen on TV,bad headlines for the BBC but the government are out of the limelight

    Reply
  7. Main stream media is dead.distrust of news services especially in the current situation and pushing narratives that aren’t challenged has pushed people away

    Reply
  8. Why should we pay for a service which is not wanted or used ,
    Subscription is the only fair way
    Especially when all the other channels are free to view.
    How can. Freeview be free when you have to pay the BBC to watch it.
    Enough is enough if the government will not enforce subscription the let the people do it

    Reply

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