Threat of criminal record for dodging BBC TV licence fee could be SCRAPPED


THE threat of a criminal record for dodging the BBC licence fee could be scrapped.

Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan insisted that viewers should not be punished for non-payment.

Everyone who watches telly must pay for a TV licence

Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan insisted that the threat of a criminal record for non-payment of the BBC licence fee should be scrapped

She yesterday suggested the annual £159 telly tax was not “sustainable” as many prefer Netflix and Amazon.

Ms Donelan said giving people choice was “fundamental in a modern society” and vowed to review the funding model.

The Cabinet minister said: “It is no secret that I have been a long-term sceptic of the licence fee and we need to make sure the BBC is sustainable in the long term.”

As a backbencher in 2019 Ms Donelan branded the licence fee an “unfair tax” that should be “scrapped altogether”.

People who refuse to pay the BBC charge risk hefty fines and possibly a jail term.

Vowing to look at decriminalisation, the Culture Secretary insisted: “We know that it particularly impacts women — we know the ramifications of that. These are the big, big issues that we should be questioning and looking at again.”

Ms Donelan also said she was reviewing the decision to sell Channel 4 to make sure ministers “still agree” with the plan.

Seeming to kick the issue into the long grass, she said that she would examine the “business case” for a sale.

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