Great Britain

Plans to decriminalise non-payment of TV licence fee have been shelved

The Sun

BBC FINE RETREAT

MINISTERS have officially shelved plans to decriminalise non-payment of the annual TV licence fee.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden admitted criminalisation felt “outdated and wrong” but the plans were ditched until an alternative method of funding the BBC was found.

The decision will now be delayed until next year.

A consultation found people were overwhelmingly in favour of ditching criminal punishments for non payment of the £157.50 fee.

But the Government said it wants to make sure that removal of sanctions is “not seen as an invitation to evade the TV licence requirement”.

The decision will enrage many Tory MPs who have campaigned for years for the criminal penalty to be scrapped.

It comes as it emerged Beeb chiefs spend more than £1million on lawyers battling their own staff over equal pay and race discrimination cases.

A BBC spokesman said yesterday: “The current system remains the fairest and most effective.”


The Sun Says

WHAT a loss of bottle by the Government over the BBC.

It knows the mandatory licence fee is an absurd imposition in this era of vast choice and voluntary subscriptions.

But it has formally abandoned decriminalising non-payment, opting to do nothing except talk further with the Beeb.

So the bloated corporation remains free to crush rivals using public money.

You risk a fine or jail if you don’t help it

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden says he feels 'let down' by the BBC over its decision to end the free TV licence for over-75s

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