This consultation on decriminalising the TV licence fee is your chance to make your voice heard, and the first step to making ministers axe the TV tax!
We have created a tool to make it easy for you to submit a response.
Supporters of a criminalised TV tax are already on the march, mobilising thousands of submissions. They think this consultation is in the bag.
If we are going to win this battle, it’s critical that the consultation gets as many clear responses supporting decriminalisation as possible. The consultation asks very specific questions and, in order to be counted, responses must be specific as well. That’s why we’ve designed this tool to help you.
Don’t let your voice be ignored.
Which areas of the BBC consultation are you most interested in?There should be a civil enforcement scheme only. Decriminalisation should allow for a possible subcription model in the future. The TV tax is unfair on the poorest, including older people.
RESPONSE: COPY TEXT BELOW
I would like to respond to the consultation on decriminalising TV licence evasion.
Q1: Should TV licence evasion (the use or installation of a television receiver without a TV licence) no longer be a criminal offence? Why do you consider that TV licence evasion should no longer be a criminal offence?
TV licence evasion should no longer be a criminal offence and should instead become a civil offence, facilitated by conditional access devices. As a potential criminal offence, non-payment of the licence fee is both too punitive for those who do not pay and burdensome on taxpayers. Criminal enforcement is excessive, unfair and disproportionately harmful to vulnerable groups. For example, the incidence of criminality falls particularly on women, who make up 70 per cent of those prosecuted. There is also an impact on the court system and UK taxpayers. Convictions for non-payment of a £1,000 fine places particular burdens on the court system. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, a total of 14.1 per cent, 13 per cent and 11.3 per cent of magistrates courts convictions respectively arose from non-payment of the BBC licence fee. The number of cases heard in magistrates courts that were BBC related was over 10 per cent in each of the years too., Since it is already government policy to avoid the proliferation of unnecessary criminal offences, thereby reducing costs, moving to decriminalisation would further support this goal. As a civil offence, non-payment of the licence fee should be treated as a civil debt. This is preferable since it avoids a statutory obligation to have a TV licence as a civil monetary penalty would require.
I look forward to seeing the results of the consultation in due course.
Sources:https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/12/23/bbc-criminalising-thousands-young-people-failing-pay-licence/ https://members.parliament.uk/member/4281/writtenquestions#expand-1012511 https://members.parliament.uk/member/4281/writtenquestions#expand-1012510 https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-decriminalising-tv-licence-evasion/consultation-on-decriminalising-tv-licence-evasion https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmselect/cmcumeds/315/315.pdf https://www.ons.gov.uk/file?uri=%2fpeoplepopulationandcommunity%2fpersonalandhouseholdfinances%2fincomeandwealth%2fdatasets%2ftheeffectsoftaxesandbenefitsonhouseholdincomefinancialyearending2014%2ffinancialyearending2018/etb2018referencetablesv3final.xlsx https://downloads.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/frontier-economics-review-of-over-75s-funding.pdf#page=56