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UK government calls for TV licence fee review evidence

The UK government has called for evidence to be submitted to its independent review into whether non-payment of the TV licence fee should be decriminalised. 

The government first announced its review last September, looking at whether the current sanctions for failing to buy a TV licence are “appropriate, fair, and represent value for money.”

The options being considered include decriminalising TV licence evasion and instead imposing a civil monetary penalty or a civil debt.

Other ideas include leaving the current offence as it stands but reforming the current criminal enforcement system or allowing out-of-court settlements.

The review will investigate whether these options would represent an “improvement to the existing system.”

Currently a person who uses a TV receiver without a TV licence is guilty of a criminal offence under the Communications Act 2003 and may be fined a maximum of £1,000 (€1,350).

In some cases where there is a refusal to pay the fine a person can be sent to jail for non-payment of a court-imposed fine.

Earlier this month peers in the House of Lords narrowly voted against moves to decriminalise non-payment of the licence fee before 2017. However the independent review keeps open the possibility of introducing the change in legislation.

The current consultation will run until May 1, 2015 and the review will report by the end of June 2015, with the findings to be presented to parliament and the BBC Trust.

Tags: BBC, Regulation, UK