Ministers are to review how payment of the TV licence fee is enforced after the amount of people appearing in court has risen.
Culture Secretary Sajid Javid is expected to say that more than 10% of all cases heard in a magistrates court involve TV licences where almost 200,000 people stodd up accused of not buying a TV licence. He will say that of those "more than 50 were sent to prison."
This review will finish early in the next Parliament and comes as Rona Fairhead, ministers' preferred candidate to chair the BBC Trust, prepares to face MP's questions. Legislation currently going through parliament would give a future government the power to move towards decriminalisation if it was deemed to be in the public interest.
The BBC is obliged to ensure its collection arrangements are efficient, appropriate and proportionate said it hopes the review would be thorough and 'not rushed.' A spokesman said: "Licence fee evasion is low which maximises investment in the programmes and services that audiences love. Changing the system could lead to higher evasion so it is important that any decisions are made as part of the Charter Review process."
The BBC Trust added that this was an issue that should be discussed and decisions need to be made as part of the BBC's review process. They said the trust looked forward to engaging fully with the review when the time comes.
DTG Staff | 09.09.2014