29/10/2008

Should the licence fee be abolished?

Glyn Davies asks if the TV licence fee should be abolished in light of the Jonathon Ross and Russell Brand incident. In as much as both should be sacked (saving the licence payers' £25 million quid); I'm not sure that the incident is, in itself, relevant to the licence fee debate.

Since the election of Tony Blair a number of people on the right have suggested that the BBC should lose the licence because of a perceived BBC bias towards the Government. To be balanced and impartial (as this blog always is) its fair to say that some on the left perceive the Beeb to be biased from a different perceptive.

Many of those who are opposed to the licence fee aren't actually opposed to the fee, they want to privatise the BBC. They know that the fee that we all hate is an easier target than the institution which is still loved and respected by many.

Whatever the pros and cons of having a nationalised TV station the idea of paying for it through a licence fee is really old fashioned and inefficient.

When the original Radio Licence was introduced in 1922 it was a fair method of taxation. Very few people owned private radios, it was only fair that those who owned the sets paid the costs of broadcasting. The same can be said for the introduction of the TV element of the licence fee in 1946 and the colour supplementary fee in 1968. Today, however, those who don't own the means of accessing tv services by any means (including computers and mobile phones) are a minuscule minority.

The separate government department, the bureaucracy, the collection fees, the defaulters and tracing unit, the TV warning adverts, the detection vans, the court time and the prison sentences that cost more per day than the cost of a single licence, seem to me to be a huge waste of resources for what would amount to a 0.3p in the pound increase in general taxation.

Whatever the right or wrongs of the BBC itself, funding it through such an antiquated and inefficient form of taxation as an individual licence fee, is clearly past its sell by date.

13 comments:

  1. I think it needs looking at. Abolishing the licence fee, making it ad supported, would open things like the iPlayer up to the American markets, which would be a HUGE revenue booster.

    On the other hand, if I have to pay for Sky after the digital switchover, I'm damned if I'm paying a licence fee too. I'm only paying once.

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  2. "those who don't own the means of accessing tv services by any means (including computers and mobile phones) are a minuscule minority".
    This is WRONG - demographics show this with a much older population. Most OAP's do not have computers and mobiles that can access TV, so your argument falls flat on its face as to fairness.
    Many older people express exasperation at the constant barrage of "go to our website" from the bbc and others.

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  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  4. It's clear the vast majority in this country want to be set free by having the BBC TV Licence abolished. In my experiences the only people who want the BBC TV Licence kept are liberal/lefties and that shouldn't come as a surprise considering the BBC is their mouth piece and a very expensive one at that (£4.2 BILLION this year alone & that's not enough for them!)

    http://tvlicenceresistance.info/

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  5. The american's can't understand the licence fee system - presumably all TV is pay per view over there (?) -

    "what, you pay a fee ever year and can't chose what you watch?"

    They may have a point as I NEVER want to watch the two clowns at the centre of the current episode.

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  6. The Only Ross the Yanks know is a cheap clothes chain!

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  7. OAP's do not have computers and mobiles that can access TV, so your argument falls flat on its face as to fairness.
    Many older people express exasperation at the constant barrage of "go to our website" from the bbc and others.

    How can they get anoyed with the "go to our website" from the BBC if they don't have " don't own the means of accessing tv services by any means"?

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  8. I don't know about the US market. I know that you are unable to watch US shows in Wales on the INTERNET.

    BBC America probably already draw alot of revenue in the US because on cable its an extra charge!

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  9. I like the BBC, it provides me with well over 80% of my viewing. But the license ..... If Alwyn is suggesting the funding might be better coming from direct taxation, I agree with him, no advertisements please.

    There would also be the benefit of removing a crime at a single stroke. But until then Al Iguana, you must pay the fee, or go to jail.

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  10. My only concern would be that the coverage of welsh politics and news would fall. Its poor from the BBC as it is but given that ITV is cutting their coverage if the licence fee was taken away would the BBC continue to pay even the small amount of attention that they do now to Wales?

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  11. The License Fee is an outdated throwback from yesteryear, time it was scrapped.

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  12. Yes it should be abolished. There are many vested interests, notably the British Government who would lose its guaranteed access to your minds and opinions. Let's face it, the BBC represents the state. It is certainly not representative of left wing views (so much for "balance" huh?).

    BBC America is/was ad funded. Programmes you had to pay for under penalty of fine and/or imprisonment are provided absolutely free to the USA. The ad revenues then go back into the BBC's bank accounts. Some double money for them. The TV Tax is just a protection racket.

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