Government Considers TV License shake-up

Wednesday 23rd August, 2006
The Government may be considering a big change in the funding of the BBC with a proposed "TV Tax" replacing the existing TV license that has been a requirement in UK homes for decades.

Under the proposal, the existing license fee could be scrapped and an additional levy imposed on bills for "pay-tv" services such as satellite and Cable TV .

The new scheme could see the existing license fee, currently around £11/mth, simply added to the bill of popular services such as Sky ensuring households cannot evade the fee. You simply could not have subscription television services without paying the fee, in much the same way as airport tax is added to flight purchases.

This would obviously leave terrestrial TV viewers who didn't choose a subscription out of reach of the new tax, but this may not be a concern as many of those viewers are over 75 and already eligible for a free license. Additionally, the cost savings of closing the TV licensing offices in Bristol and Darwen that employ over 1200 people could quite possibly offset any missing revenue from existing licenses.

The new uncomplicated scheme would truly leave UK residents a genuine choice of "free to air" services and paid TV, removing the need for expensive TV detector vans and advertising costs and could leave the BBC able to sell their programming on-line to overseas viewers who were happy to pay the relevant tax charge.

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