The BBC has hinted it could support a change to the model under which the TV licence fee is collected.
In its response to the Government’s consultation on decriminalising TV licence evasion, the BBC says the fee, which from today rises to £157.50, could be collected with broadband bills.
“In some countries the TV licence, or equivalent, is linked directly to an existing common household bill. For example it is collected through electricity bills in Italy and the equivalent of council tax bills in France. Another option to consider as the UK progresses towards universal access could be broadband bills.
“This would be a significant change for the UK and we are not, at this stage, advocating it. It does however raise an interesting question as to whether the current system could be made much simpler, more efficient and more automated. We are open to exploring this further.”
The BBC says that recent events have meant the attention of government, stakeholders and itself have been elsewhere and while it has met the consultation deadline of 5pm Wednesday, it suggests a second consultation is required before any decision is taken.
Despite the Government’s suggestion that non-payment of the Licence Fee should move from being a criminal to a civil offence, the BBC claims there is no evidence this is the case, and that the Licence Fee “continues to be the public’s preferred way to fund the BBC”.