MPs back changes to TV licence fee law

A committee of MPs has voted to give the Government the power to decriminalise the non-payment of TV licence fee.

A committee of MPs has voted to give the Government the power to decriminalise the non-payment of TV licence fee. Credit: PA

They voted in favour of an amendment to the Deregulation Bill that will require an examination of reform options and give ministers the power to make it a civil offence.

The BBC said that the move could cost them as much as £200m a year.

Following the committee's decision to approve a review, BBC director of corporate and public affairs Andrew Scadding said: "The licence fee is by no means a perfect system, but for 40p a day it does provide a television, radio and online service that is the envy of much of the world."

Watch: Harriet Harman: Labour backs TV licence review

"Under the current system, licence fee evasion has been steady at 5% for the last five years. We have one of the lowest evasion rates in Europe.

"If just 5% more of homes refused to pay, it would result in a loss of revenue equivalent to about £200 million.

"This is the same as the budgets for CBBC, CBeebies, and BBC Four... We are not crying wolf when we say that a loss of income through an increase in evasion would means a loss of more services."

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