The Government has published its response to the TV licence evasion consultation which showed that the public were opposed to criminal sanctions being used for those who don’t pay. Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said that the Government would look at decriminalisation, but that it needed to create new alternatives to ensure that the licence fee was still paid.
Dowden said in a statement:
“A criminal sanction for TV licence evasion in the digital media age feels outdated and wrong, and many who responded to our consultation agreed. Whilst the delivery of decriminalisation right now is problematic, we intend to keep looking at this as we negotiate the next Licence Fee settlement and push for the reforms at the BBC that the new leadership has recognised are needed.”
The consultation had taken place between February and April 2020, with 154,737 responses from members of the public and groups. There is currently an evasion rate of around 6.5% to 7.5% of those not paying for the licence when they need one, with 174,000 people being found without a licence in 2019/2020.