With all the work that the BBC has been doing to support people through the Covid-19 crisis, from providing up-to-date news and advice, to supporting the education of children unable to attend school, it would be easy to forget that its future is currently uncertain.

There is still an open Government consultation of decriminalising non-payment of the Licence Fee.

Whilst no one likes the thought of people being prosecuted for non-payment of the Licence Fee, we believe that this proposal is more of an attack on the BBC and its funding model than helping vulnerable people.

WGGB will be responding to the consultation, opposing changes to the current system. We would suggest that members also respond as individuals sending a strong message to Government about the importance of the BBC.

Below are some key points that you may wish to make in your response:

  • The BBC offers a huge range of services which families across the UK rely upon. It is free from shareholder pressure and advertiser influence and as such is in a unique position to educate, inform and entertain.
  • Decriminalisation of the Licence Fee will inevitably affect the income of the corporation; the BBC estimated it would lead to a loss of £200 million, media consultant Enders Analysis suggested the shortfall could top £500 million.
  • Five years ago, David Perry QC concluded that the present licence was a “broadly fair and proportionate response” to the problem of evasion and provided good value for money for Licence Fee payers and taxpayers. He said moving to a civil system would increase evasion and would be more expensive to recoup.
  • In 2018, no one was imprisoned for the non-payment of a magistrates’ court fine arising from a conviction for not paying for a TV licence; this number was five in 2017, 21 in 2016, and 23 in 2015.

You can find out more about the consultation here.

The closing date and time for responses is 5pm on Wednesday 1 April.

Send your response to tvlicencedecriminalisation@culture.gov.uk

You can also sign this petition.