MPs expected to back TV licence fee law change

A review of the penalties for non-payment of the TV licence is set to move a step closer today, paving the way for possible decriminalisation.

MPs are expected to back 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 cost of the TV licence currently stands at £145.50 a year.

Significant cross-party backbench support to remove the threat of a criminal record and jail sentence for non-payers prompted the Government to propose the review, which Labour also backs.

The BBC, which had warned an immediate switch would hit funding for its services by encouraging evasion, has signalled a willingness to discuss changes as part of negotiations over the renewal of its charter, due in 2017.