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UKIP plans to reduce licence fee and decriminalise non-payment

UKIP’s manifesto calls for both the decriminalisation of licence fee evasion and for making it cheaper. 

Despite the annual cost of the TV Licence being frozen at £145.50 for the last six years by the current Conservative-dominated Coalition government, UKIP has called for a review of this, with a view to reducing it even more. 

The party also wants non-payment of the fee to be decriminalised – but offers no further idea how revenue could be generated for the BBC. 

Related: Five myths about the licence fee bustedUKIP’s plans for public service broadcasting are vague, saying only: “We will decriminalise one crime: non-payment of the TV licence fee. This will become a civil rather than a criminal offence. We will also review the cost ot [sic] the licence fee with a view to its reduction.” 

While a cross-party committee of MPs have called for non-payment to be classed as a civil offence, they have also done so provided that access to catch-up services like BBC iPlayer be placed behind a paywall-type system. Currently, you can legally opt out of having to pay for a TV licence and still watch catch-up content. 

Other arguments include scrapping the licence fee altogether and replacing it with a mandatory tax. UKIP doesn’t appear to be entertaining any such options right now. 

Aside from calling for a review, the only other mention of the licence fee in the manifesto is that over 75s should continue to receive a free licence. That’s still more times than UKIP bothered to mention broadband mind

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