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This blog is to highlight the unjust persecution of legitimate non-TV users at the hands of TV Licensing. These people do not require a licence and are entitled to live without the unnecessary stress and inconvenience caused by TV Licensing's correspondence and employees.

If you use equipment to receive live broadcast TV programmes, or to watch or download on-demand programmes via the BBC iPlayer, then the law requires you to have a licence and we encourage you to buy one.

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Saturday, 30 April 2022

BBC TV Licence: Outdated, Unfair and Due for Replacement Says Government

The Government has published its ambitious plans for the future of UK broadcasting.

The future of the BBC TV licence remains firmly on the agenda, with the Government acknowledging its unfairness and irrelevance in a 21st century market place increasingly dominated by broadcasters other than the BBC.

Many moons ago, in a time long before lecherous old perverts stalked the corridors of BBC Television Centre, there was something called the Broadcast Receiving Licence. At its 1922 inception the licence covered the reception of radio programmes, as there was no television service at that stage.

In 1946 the licence was extended to cover the reception of VHF 405-line monochrome television programmes. In 1964 the first UHF-625 line colour television programmes were broadcast on BBC Two. On 1st January 1968 a "colour supplement" was added to the licence fee for the first time. On 1st February 1971 to radio-only portion of the licence was abolished and the TV-only licence came into existence. That's the way it has been ever since.

Technology has changed enormously in the 70 years since the TV licence was first introduced, but the legislation has changed very little. In 1946 there was a single TV channel, the BBC Television Service, which you could only watch for a few hours a day and you had to let your set warm up for 10 minutes beforehand. The BBC was arguably an important national service in post-war Britain. It educated and informed its audience and gelled them together in a sense of national identity and camaraderie. Back then the £2 combined TV and radio licence fee might have seemed value for money.

Step forward to 2022 and there are now hundreds of TV channels available around the clock and from across the globe. People now want to choose what to watch and when to watch it - a booming concept known as non-linear viewing, which does not legally require a TV licence apart from when viewing on the BBC iPlayer. The BBC now provides a tiny proportion of TV channels, but the £4 billion in TV licence revenue still goes exclusively to the BBC. However woeful its output or sordid its scandal the BBC continues to receive £4 billion on a silver plate as of divine right.

A TV licence is needed for any property where equipment is used to receive TV on any channel, BBC or not, at the same time (or virtually the same time) as it is broadcast to other members of the public. Additionally, from 1st September 2016, a TV licence is required for any property where equipment is used to watch or download BBC on-demand programmes via the iPlayer.

In its 42-page white paper, Up Next: The Government's vision for the broadcasting sector, the Government highlights the increasing number of viewers abandoning the TV licence.

"Should this trend continue as expected there are clear challenges on the horizon to the sustainability of the licence fee", the document says.

"The Government also remains concerned that the licence fee is enforced by criminal sanctions, which the Government sees as increasingly disproportionate and unfair in a modern public service broadcasting system."

The paper goes on to highlight the Government's concern that the BBC's heavy-handed enforcement regime could be used on vulnerable elderly viewers, a significant proportion of whom are now ineligible for an "free" over-75 TV licence.

In a Spectator interview coinciding with the publication of the white paper, the Culture Secretary, Nadine Dorries MP, said: "We are ready to implement a new way of funding the BBC.

"We're going to be looking at how Ofcom hold the BBC to account and then very shortly after that we will be announcing other measures that we are going to put into place to start looking at how the BBC will be funded in the future so that we are well in time to have that in place for the Charter renewal."

The BBC's current Charter period comes to an end on 31st December 2027, which means the wheels of change will need to be set in motion very shortly.

Will this be the final death of the TV licence? We can only hope the Government stands true to its word.

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Maryon Jeane said...

Good article.

What worries me, however, is that instead of a licence fee there will be a 'television tax' - and that will be taken along with all the other taxes we are forced to pay: at source through PAYE or the like.

Obviously, if this happens, there won't be any way in which we will be able to refuse to pay for the nefarious BBC.

We need to keep a sharp eye open for any signs that this is the route the UK Government will be taking, and protest every which way if it is.

Admin said...

Many thanks for your comment Maryon Jeane.

Anonymous said...

The Tories have often threatened to remove or curtail the TVL, but it never happens. It always happens in the runup to an election, so it's obviously intended to get the BBC to tone down its pro-Labour propaganda.