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Govt asks public to choose its own fate for TV license avoidance

The Government is asking the public to chime-in on the debate over the potential decriminalisation of the TV licence fee.

The Department for Culture, Media & Sport has launched a public consultation over the TV licence fee and the ramifications which exist for those found to not be paying it. The general public have been asked to write in with evidence and contributions to aid decision makers as they endeavour to overhaul the current system.

The TV licence has been a hot topic of late, after a number of politicians launched a bid to have non-payment of the compulsory fee decriminalised.

Conservative backbencher Andrew Bridgen led a group of 50 MP’s who petitioned culture secretary Sajid Javid to scrap the licence fee in its current form.

Despite gaining momentum the bid was halted as it passed through the House of Lords. Lord Grade, himself a former chairman of the beeb, proposed to freeze any potential decriminalisation until April 2017, and won support from a narrow majority.

The public consultation is asking for the public’s views on six options for non-payers of the television licence:

  1. Do nothing: to retain the current criminal enforcement system.
  2. Reform of current system: leave the current offence as it stands but reform the current criminal enforcement system.
  3. Out of court settlement: retention of criminal offence, with an option for disposal by way of an out of court settlement.
  4. Fixed monetary penalty: retention of the criminal offence, with an option for disposal by way of a fixed monetary penalty
  5. Civil monetary penalty: decriminalise and enforce via a civil infraction.
  6. Civil debt: decriminalise and enforce as a civil debt.

If you have something to add, you can head over and take a look at the Government’s page regarding the consultation and follow the instructions to have your say. The consultation will be open until May 1st 2015.

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