To: The House of Commons

End the BBC Licence Fee

End the BBC Licence Fee

Push for an immediate common's debate on the future of the television licence.

Why is this important?

There's been considerable public dissatisfaction for quite some time:
- 70% stated that the BBC licence fee should be abolished or cut according to an ICM poll for The Sunday Telegraph in 2013.
- The Magistrates' Association has been calling for the decriminalisation of TV licence evasion for nearly 20 years, concerned that evaders are punished disproportionately.
- Up to 50 MP's demanded recently an urgent Government review of BBC funding

I resent having to pay for the BBC for the following reasons:

Unique funding or daylight robbery?
- The BBC has long advertised with phrases such as "thanks to the unique way the BBC is funded" however should that unique way been seen as a positive. Surely it is questionable that a non-government entity should be entirely funded by tax that they are independently allowed to, first, claim and, second, collect.
- The licence fee forces people to pay for self-funded services, such as itv, channel 4 and so on.

Heavy-handed bullying:
- Its business model relies upon fear of criminal sanctions to achieve success: you cannot go to prison for non-payment of your licence fee, but you can be jailed for not paying a fine.
- The BBC sent 52.8 million letters last year chasing evaders. These letters were followed with around 3.8 million visits by TV licence officer.
- More than 3,000 a week appeared before the Magistrates Courts in 2012, accused of watching television without a valid licence.
- Licence fee evasion makes up around one ninth of all cases prosecuted in magistrate courts.
- Of the 204,018 prosecution (or out of court disposal) in 2014, a staggering 24,025 were unsuccessful.
- in 2014, 39 people were imprisoned in England and Wales, for an average of 20 days each.

Burden on the poor:
- The licence fee represents a much higher proportion of income for poor households
- According to a National Audit Office report from 2002: "Areas with high evasion rates are most likely to have a higher than average proportion of younger people, low income households, and students and single parent families, and a high level of County Court judgments 50 per cent above the national average".
- by forbidding all TV programs to non-licence payers, it prevents poor people to enjoy a hobby that's virtually free or it criminalises them, in particular women with children living on welfare.

The licence fee gives an unfair advantage to one broadcaster:
- Itv has a total external revenue of £2,590 million
- Channel 4's total revenue is £908 million a year.
- UKTV (owning Dave, yesterday, etc) had £265 million in revenue.
- In comparison, the BBC has a total income of £5.066 billion of which £3.726 bn comes from licence fees.

Outdated system:
- The BBC has been funded by the licence fee since 1923.
- The current TV licence fee started in 1946
- TV licence might have been relevant when TV was in its infancy. Nowadays, it's not. Many channels offer quality programs funded by advertising.

How it works:
- The licence fee is classified as a tax since In January 2006.
- It cost each house with a TV the sum of 40p a day. In context of austerity, this is actually quite a lot.
- The Licence fee has been frozen at its 2010 level of £145.50 until 31st March 2017
- Free TV licences are available for households with a member aged over 75 and are Licences are half price for the legally blind. Those aged over 60 and in residential care homes can get Accommodation for Residential Care licences for £7.50 a year.

It doesn't have to be this way:
- Canada, United States, Australia, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Monaco and Spain don't have TV licence fees. Presumably its national TV is paid by taxes, in which case it's paid proportionally to each individual's income.

A need of control has been expressed many times:
A BBC funded by the public needs a democratic mandate, not just the votes of a few people who enjoy nature programmes.

Bias:
The nature of the licence fee as a tax could lead to the BBC being manipulated by the government in power with the threat of withholding funds if information damaging to that government was made public. Evidence of this kind of manipulation has already been seen in the run up to the 2015 election and the proposed leader's debates.

Papers have hinted that "thousands of Top Gear fans who signed a petition demanding Jeremy Clarkson be reinstated are now threatening not to pay their TV licence fee in protest." I am one of them.
I think it's particularly relevant to address this now as this issue needs to be debated by the government before 2017, but more so because of the "Fracas", which brings the BBC's responsibility towards the general public to the forefront.


Reasons for signing

  • I object to the blatant biased reporting in the news and other current affairs programmes. They claim to be neutral and are not.
  • Because i dint believe anything they say on the news and failed to publicise any news on the 10,0000 strong patriot march yesterday why should i pay for lies and fake news
  • Programme standards at the BBC have plummeted over the last 20 years. And BBC News has the reputation of distributing fake news. BBC is no longer fit for purpose.

Updates

2017-03-08 09:24:14 +0000

A debate on the TV licence Fee is scheduled in parliament for 8 May 2017

2017-03-02 11:38:07 +0000

Article highlighting TV licence Court cases in London (3 months study) https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/03/02/tv_licensing_two_thirds_prosecutions_women_one_london_court/?mt=1488453844302

2016-08-29 07:30:10 +0100

Article in IOM Today http://www.iomtoday.co.im/news/isle-of-man-news/tv-licence-prosecutions-hit-129-1-8089027

2016-08-12 13:18:59 +0100

Article in Scottish legal News http://www.scottishlegal.com/2016/08/12/not-guilty-verdicts-rise-to-20-per-cent-for-tv-licensing-prosecutions/

2016-08-04 19:04:54 +0100

Article in Londonderry Sentinel (Northern Ireland) http://www.londonderrysentinel.co.uk/news/londonderry-news/hike-in-number-of-nw-viewers-done-for-tv-licence-evasion-1-7512425

2016-08-03 10:23:28 +0100

Article in Chronicle Live (North East) http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/should-pay-watch-tv-convictions-11694361

2016-07-31 14:47:35 +0100

Article in Scotland in the Sunday Herald http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14653118.Scots___39_more_likely__39__to_pay_TV_licence/?ref=rss

2016-07-30 07:57:08 +0100

New article in the Daily Mail covering FOIs for 2015 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3715570/English-Welsh-viewers-three-times-likely-prosecuted-fined-dodging-TV-licence-fee-Scotland.html

2016-07-18 08:15:56 +0100

200,000 signatures reached

2016-04-08 08:42:26 +0100

The reply published on 21 March 2016: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm160321/petntext/160321p0001.htm#16032125000021

2016-01-21 10:27:36 +0000

The petition was handed over by Andrew Bridgen at 18:13 on 20th January 2016. You can watch it here http://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/12cab491-2c5b-4390-80a2-2c4a9e4b03c9

It will now be sent to the Department who will respond to it at a later date.

You can still sign it, as petitions can be presented more than once.

2015-10-12 09:55:49 +0100

National coverage http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3268840/BBC-ignored-public-s-views-future-instead-used-paid-study-represent-views-population.html

2015-10-12 09:53:27 +0100

Coverage in Leicestershire and Rutland http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/Prosecution-figures-2-652-prosecuted-having-TV/story-27924716-detail/story.html

2015-09-30 08:00:20 +0100

Article in the Kent and Sussex Courier http://www.courier.co.uk/REVEALED-TV-licence-evaders-Kent-Sussex/story-27890130-detail/story.html

2015-09-09 14:01:30 +0100

New article in Letters from Wales Uncut http://lettersfromwalesuncut.com/2015/09/09/bbc-levy-or-licence-whats-in-a-name/

2015-09-06 16:54:14 +0100

Follow up in IOM Today http://www.iomtoday.co.im/news/isle-of-man-news/it-s-time-manx-government-got-a-grip-over-bbc-licence-fee-says-celtic-league-1-7442187

2015-09-02 13:15:50 +0100

Front page in the Isle of Man http://www.iomtoday.co.im/news/isle-of-man-news/record-number-of-tv-licence-dodgers-in-isle-of-man-1-7437885

2015-08-22 15:59:10 +0100

The Daily mail giving a shout to this petition http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3201595/How-English-jailed-licence-fee-Scots-aren-t.html

2015-08-22 15:54:40 +0100

In depth article in Letters from Wales Uncut http://lettersfromwalesuncut.com/2015/08/22/why-the-bbc-should-be-subjected-to-serious-reform/

2015-08-10 16:19:17 +0100

Scottish Legal News http://www.scottishlegal.com/2015/08/10/scots-avoid-jail-after-tv-license-non-payment/

2015-08-09 19:33:03 +0100

NOW East Durham on Household levy http://www.noweastdurham.co.uk/index_news.php?id=302&cat_id=&p=&search=

Herald Scotland on the decriminalisation http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/homenews/13584077.No_one_jailed_in_Scotland_for_failing_to_pay_TV_licence_in_Scotland__compared_to_scores_in_England/

2015-08-01 11:03:27 +0100

Both the Daily Mail and Wigan Today used my independent review of the TV licence fee. I think the article in Wigan Today is better. Read both and decide for yourself.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3180686/Almost-23-000-escape-TV-licence-fines-One-ten-cases-ends-without-conviction-wastes-hundreds-thousands-taxpayers-money.html

http://www.wigantoday.net/news/local/tv-licence-fines-branded-unfair-1-7386890

2015-07-14 10:59:13 +0100

Recognition in Germany http://taz.de/Britische-Sendeanstalt-BBC/!5212063/

2015-07-08 19:05:52 +0100

Northern Ireland:
The Londonberry Sentinel http://www.londonderrysentinel.co.uk/news/local-news/166-tv-licence-evasion-cases-were-thrown-out-1-6840609

2015-07-08 17:30:08 +0100

The Scottish newspapers:
The Scotsman http://www.pressreader.com/uk/the-scotsman/20150620/281938836553712/TextView
Clydebank post http://www.clydebankpost.co.uk/news/roundup/articles/2015/07/01/537726-poorest-in-west-dunbartonshire-caught-out-over-tv-licences/
The Courier http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/local/fife/only-two-tv-licence-dodgers-found-guilty-in-fife-courts-1.887546
The Evening Telegraph http://www.pressreader.com/uk/evening-telegraph-late-extra-edition/20150703/281706908342879/TextView

2015-06-09 11:16:02 +0100

International visibility now! Marketplace is a Radio Network comprising more than five hundred public radio stations in the United States and commands a regular, daily audience of around ten million listeners. http://www.marketplace.org/topics/world/bbc-risk-uk-weighs-tv-license-fee

2015-05-29 14:48:37 +0100

Older articles that didn't get mentioned yet:
Torbay Times http://torbaytimes.co.uk/petition-gathers-thousands-in-a-fortnight/
MK News http://www.mkweb.co.uk/BBC-TV-license-petition-starter-Caroline-Levesque/story-26425379-detail/story.html
MK News http://www.mkweb.co.uk/BBC/story-26531082-detail/story.html
KC Times http://www.kctimes.co.uk/bbc/end_bbc_tv_licence_fee.html
Polish Websites http://www.mystaffordshire.com/05/jest-szansa-na-zniesie-oplaty-za-tv-licence/
http://barnsley.co/trwa-walka-o-zniesienie-abonamentu-telewizyjnego-w-uk/
http://twojeuk.pl/artykuly,uk-petycja-o-zniesienie-abonamentu-telewizyjnego,2251.html

2015-05-29 14:42:48 +0100

Coverage in Derbyshire http://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/1-500-Derbyshire-people-sign-petition-scrap-TV/story-26582024-detail/story.html

2015-05-21 21:46:51 +0100

150,000 signatures reached

2015-05-14 14:48:15 +0100

Coverage in the royal borough of Kensington and Chelsea Times http://www.kctimes.co.uk/

2015-05-02 19:07:38 +0100

A blog https://endbbclicencefee.wordpress.com/

2015-05-01 08:57:10 +0100

Gloucester Citizen http://www.gloucestercitizen.co.uk/Thousands-sign-petition-calling-TV-licence-fee/story-26424260-detail/story.html

2015-04-30 14:05:43 +0100

Exeter's Express and Echo http://www.exeterexpressandecho.co.uk/End-BBC-Licence-Fee-Hundreds-Exeter-residents/story-26417308-detail/story.html#gUBe3LqrtxuCSj5e.01

2015-04-29 19:51:51 +0100

130,000 signatures reached!!!

2015-04-29 18:40:50 +0100

Bucks Free Press http://www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/news/12921846.Bucks_viewers_add_their_voice_to_TV_licence_campaign/

2015-04-29 12:49:59 +0100

Another media is now showing support http://londynek.net/wiadomosci/Czas+by+zniesc+abonament+telewizyjny!+Czy+Polacy+na+Wyspach+podpisza+petycje+wiadomosci+news,/wiadomosci/article?jdnews_id=28896

2015-04-29 07:26:40 +0100

MK News did a poll (go vote!) as well as an article http://www.mkweb.co.uk/BBC-Milton-Keynes-residence-sign-petition-rid-TV/story-26403761-detail/story.html

2015-04-28 11:04:27 +0100

Another article on the petition! http://www.emito.net/kl/660923

2015-04-23 17:09:55 +0100

The Kent and Sussex Courier ran a story on the petition: http://www.courier.co.uk/70-Tonbridge-Tunbridge-Wells-residents-want-BBC/story-26380662-detail/story.html

2015-04-19 16:37:15 +0100

My local newspaper lost no time at all! Here's what they put together: http://www.torquayheraldexpress.co.uk/Thousands-sign-Torquay-woman-s-petition-TV/story-26356012-detail/story.html

2015-04-19 16:36:13 +0100

An article about the petition has been translated into Polish! You can read it here: http://www.polnews.co.uk/index.php/co-gdzie-kiedy/2434-no-tv-licence-fee.html

2015-04-12 13:30:35 +0100

100,000 signatures reached

2015-04-09 10:22:57 +0100

Hi! If you email me and you want a reply, please tell me your address, because every message I receive is directly from campaignsbyyou@38degrees.org.uk so I have no way to reach you.

2015-04-07 22:21:59 +0100

50,000 signatures reached

2015-04-07 14:47:30 +0100

20,000 signatures reached

2015-04-07 11:34:27 +0100

10,000 signatures reached

2015-04-07 10:14:13 +0100

More on how the BBC spends our money in ways we don't approve of:
The BBC commisioned a game about Syrian refugees trying to escape to Europe. Sickening and mind boggling. "Game often ends with migrants drowning in the Mediterranean". What were they thinking?
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3027174/BBC-bosses-blasted-making-computer-game-called-Syria-Journey-refugees-fleeing-war-torn-country.html

2015-04-07 09:28:43 +0100

The TV Licence fee is spent in ways we don't approve of:
The BBC commissioned a 44 pages document on the use of emojis in the news. Seriously! :-( http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3025454/BBC-blasted-blowing-thousands-licence-fee-payers-money-guide-teaching-staff-correct-way-use-EMOJIS.html

2015-04-07 09:27:33 +0100

5,000 signatures reached

2015-04-06 22:11:03 +0100

1,000 signatures reached

2015-04-06 20:59:08 +0100

500 signatures reached

2015-04-06 14:45:51 +0100

100 signatures reached

2015-04-06 11:31:00 +0100

50 signatures reached

2015-04-06 07:55:15 +0100

25 signatures reached

2015-04-04 14:21:42 +0100

10 signatures reached