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BBC puts forward levy on broadband bills idea

by Mark Tyson on 1 April 2020, 11:11

Tags: BBC, UK Government

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In February the UK government started a consultation on decriminalising TV licence evasion. The DCMS openly pondered whether, five years since the Perry Review (PDF) the broadcasting landscape has changed, and if criminal sanctions remain appropriate for TV licence fee evasion. Consultation closes today at 5pm but the BBC's official response to the concept has already been published for perusal. Other businesses, organisations, and individuals will have responded too. At the time of writing a colour TV licence costs £157.50 pa.

In its response (PDF), the BBC says it strongly supports the status quo, at least for the medium term. It warns that to decriminalise non-payment of the licence fee would have a £300m impact on its coffers. This is because it estimates that license fee evasion would double to about 10 per cent of households and that would result in a loss of £200m directly and another in £100m civil court costs.

In the last year we have figures for, 130,000 people were prosecuted for non-payment of the licence fee with five people in England and Wales sent to prison for failing to pay the resulting fines. This rather large scale human misery is justified as "The BBC is a universal service – one to which everyone contributes and everyone receives something in return," said the corporation. "Any system based on a universal contribution must have a sufficient deterrent and sanction to ensure that principle holds up and the system is fair to those who do pay, as well as those who don't."

BBC: perhaps we can put a levy on your utility bills?

While it is interesting to see the arguments for and against decriminalising TV licence fee evasion, perhaps more interesting is one of the alternative funding models being put forward by the BBC. "In some countries the TV licence, or equivalent, is linked directly to an existing common household bill," relates the BBC statement. "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."

Importantly the BBC is "not, at this stage, advocating," adding levies to UK household utility bills like broadband bills but it does flag the alternative funding scheme as being potentially "simpler, more efficient and more automated".

The thought of the BBC tapping into utilities will cause some to feel uneasy as utilities are essential while the BBC's output isn't. Furthermore, the extra charges could be significant as a proportion of the bill - for example my fibre broadband costs £21pcm but the current monthly fee for a BBC TV license is £13.13.



HEXUS Forums :: 120 Comments

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Another stealth tax, hidden inside another bill.

I can decide to get extra TV channels from Sky-Virgin, B.T. e.t.c. and even more from Netflix, Prime, Disney +,Now TV this is my choice but BBC is not a choice it is enforced upon us and i don't watch any of it, i haven't watched anything on it for years yet they propose to hide it within bills you have no choice but to pay every month.

Why is all this being discussed now? with all this nightmare going on around us :censored:
In the 90's, The UK and Canada were the foremost pirates of international TV.
Go ahead, push it. you'll see dropped subscriptions, and a wider watcher-ship (<<word?)
What an utterly ridiculous, slimy proposal. They really are grasping at straws to continue forcing people to pay against their will, aren't they?

I thought it might have been an April Fools joke when I first read about it on another site but found it is really mentioned in the attached BBC-published document.

I cant see adding something like £20 per month to every broadband bill in the country being popular with anyone. Also how would they allow for multiple broadband/mobile subscriptions per person/household, or for people who currently don't pay TV License because they have no need or want for it? So go from bullying people into buying something the probably don't need into getting the Government to force every UK resident to pay for it whether they like it or not? Absolutely outrageous, disgusting proposal. Hopefully the Government and Ofcom treat them as the laughing stock they are, trying to increase broadband prices at a time when they're also trying to regulate fair access and pricing for everyone in the country through things like the FTTP rollout and USO.

:censored:
If the BBC were impartial, I'd happily pay the license fee.
It used to be that they read the news and interviewed politicians and allowed the viewer to form their own opinions. The bias displayed now is incredible.
watercooled
What an utterly ridiculous, slimy proposal. They really are grasping at straws to continue forcing people to pay against their will, aren't they?

I thought it might have been an April Fools joke when I first read about it on another site but found it is really mentioned in the attached BBC-published document.

I cant see adding something like £20 per month to every broadband bill in the country being popular with anyone. Also how would they allow for multiple broadband/mobile subscriptions per person/household, or for people who currently don't pay TV License because they have no need or want for it? So go from bullying people into buying something the probably don't need into getting the Government to force every UK resident to pay for it whether they like it or not? Absolutely outrageous, disgusting proposal. Hopefully the Government and Ofcom treat them as the laughing stock they are, trying to increase broadband prices at a time when they're also trying to regulate fair access and pricing for everyone in the country through things like the FTTP rollout and USO.

:censored:

Was it posted today then, April 1st?? we are the fools they seem to be saying..

£20 per household, from £12.56 so an increase of £7.44 a month, for what?? more “Gawdblimeygovern-enders” and biased news coverage, and forced by law on every household whether they watch it or not.