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Detail of outcome
This is the government’s response to the consultation on decriminalisation of TV licence evasion, which ran from 5 February to 1 April 2020.
After carefully considering all of the consultation responses received, the government remains concerned that a criminal sanction for TV licence evasion is increasingly disproportionate and unfair in a modern public service broadcasting system.
However, as noted in consultation responses, the government also recognises that changing the sanction for TV licence evasion would have wide-ranging impacts for licence fee payers which need to be carefully considered.
On this basis, while no final decision has been taken at this time, the government will keep the issue of decriminalisation under active consideration as part of the wider roadmap of reform of the BBC.
The Government believes that it is right to look again at decriminalising TV licence evasion in order to ensure a proportionate and fair approach to licence fee penalties and payments is in place, which protects the most vulnerable in our society.
The consultation will seek responses on whether to decriminalise evasion and give consideration to how this could happen. The determining factors that the Government will consider include:
- Would an alternative, non-criminal enforcement scheme be fairer and more proportionate?
- What the cost is and how difficult it would be to implement any alternative scheme?
- What is the potential impact on licence fee payers, particularly the most vulnerable and those with protected characteristics?
- And what is the overall impact on licence fee collection?