Change television licence sentencing guidelines

I am a magistrate and would like to suggest a change to the process of handling television license fees. This should be changed to an offence with a sentence of a  fixed penalty notice . Those found without a television license should be issued with a fixed penalty notice and if this is unpaid enforcement proceeding used to recover the cost. Should the person challenge the fixed penalty notice they could appeal to magistrates as is the case for all fixed penalty notices.

Also, the law should be changed to include cable and satellite companies having to establish the legal status of the person applying for, or renewing, their subscription in regard to them having a valid television license. It appears that a majority of those appearing in the magistrates courts for non payment of television license are satellite / cable subscribers. I believe a similar process is used within the dvla for non payment of vehicle tax.

Why is this idea important?

I am a magistrate and would like to suggest a change to the process of handling television license fees. This should be changed to an offence with a sentence of a  fixed penalty notice . Those found without a television license should be issued with a fixed penalty notice and if this is unpaid enforcement proceeding used to recover the cost. Should the person challenge the fixed penalty notice they could appeal to magistrates as is the case for all fixed penalty notices.

Also, the law should be changed to include cable and satellite companies having to establish the legal status of the person applying for, or renewing, their subscription in regard to them having a valid television license. It appears that a majority of those appearing in the magistrates courts for non payment of television license are satellite / cable subscribers. I believe a similar process is used within the dvla for non payment of vehicle tax.

Change to the TV License Fee

As somebody has suggested a change to the TV license would be a good idea. The license fee only really pays for BBC coverage (Radio & TV). This doesn't cover other terrestrial channels.

if you watch and subscribe to SKY and other pay per view channels you are expected to pay again. Could this not be reviewed, so that you ONLY pay for what you watch and now in the 21st century not what you can recieve has the BBC suggest.

I currently pay over £145 for BBC, then another £80 for SKY and that doesn't include other channels such as ESPN.

Isn't it time the cost was reviewed?

Why is this idea important?

As somebody has suggested a change to the TV license would be a good idea. The license fee only really pays for BBC coverage (Radio & TV). This doesn't cover other terrestrial channels.

if you watch and subscribe to SKY and other pay per view channels you are expected to pay again. Could this not be reviewed, so that you ONLY pay for what you watch and now in the 21st century not what you can recieve has the BBC suggest.

I currently pay over £145 for BBC, then another £80 for SKY and that doesn't include other channels such as ESPN.

Isn't it time the cost was reviewed?

Let the BBC be the best it can be, for the public who pay for it

 

In the name of commercial fairness the BBC is held back from offering the services it wants too.  These additional services (such as offering more HD content, or creating iPhone Apps) would cost little to implement but would offer a good service for the public.  Various regulatory bodies however, often hold the BBC back.  This is apparently because the new services offered by the BBC would harm its commercial rivals.  In reality however, this probably wouldn’t hold true.  Firstly there are few people who would watch a BBC program at the expense of an ITV one, just because it happened to be available on HD or remained on the iPlayer for a few more days.  It would merely improve the viewing experience for the public. 

If there is a mandatory license fee, the BBC should be obligated to offer the best possible service it can to the public.  If that drives up the competition, so much the better.  The commercial competition should not mind the BBC forging ahead with improved broadcasting technologies – taking the risk from first implementation away from them.

Why is this idea important?

 

In the name of commercial fairness the BBC is held back from offering the services it wants too.  These additional services (such as offering more HD content, or creating iPhone Apps) would cost little to implement but would offer a good service for the public.  Various regulatory bodies however, often hold the BBC back.  This is apparently because the new services offered by the BBC would harm its commercial rivals.  In reality however, this probably wouldn’t hold true.  Firstly there are few people who would watch a BBC program at the expense of an ITV one, just because it happened to be available on HD or remained on the iPlayer for a few more days.  It would merely improve the viewing experience for the public. 

If there is a mandatory license fee, the BBC should be obligated to offer the best possible service it can to the public.  If that drives up the competition, so much the better.  The commercial competition should not mind the BBC forging ahead with improved broadcasting technologies – taking the risk from first implementation away from them.

decriminalise non payment of tv licence

The TV licence should be a civil debt. Law needs to be updated so that a user watching live TV on mobile broadband is not breaking the law when out of their home or other place where a licence fee is paid. It is all to easy to fall foul of a stupid and unnecessary regulation.

Why is this idea important?

The TV licence should be a civil debt. Law needs to be updated so that a user watching live TV on mobile broadband is not breaking the law when out of their home or other place where a licence fee is paid. It is all to easy to fall foul of a stupid and unnecessary regulation.

Make the BBC licence fee optional (pay what you feel its worth to you)

The BBC licence fee should be optional.  So each year you get a polite request through the post with a suggested fee, but you pay as much or as little as you feel the service is worth to you.   

 

 

Why is this idea important?

The BBC licence fee should be optional.  So each year you get a polite request through the post with a suggested fee, but you pay as much or as little as you feel the service is worth to you.   

 

 

End discrimination against remote areas by central government

The policy of centralisation pursued in the UK for many decades has resulted in severe discrimination against communities in the remoter parts of England, Scotland and Wales. People in these communities pay the same taxes (both direct and indirect) as those living in large towns and cities, yet they are frequently denied essential services because central government deems it too expensive to provide them.

This mentality prevails, even though remote areas unquestionably have a greater need for such services than city areas. Examples of such discrimination are:

  • Fuel pricing

EU regulations allow for a reduced rate of VAT to be applied on petrol and diesel in remote areas. Even though countries such as Finland apply this policy in relation to their remote island communities, the UK government has never adopted it. As a result, petrol on the Scottish islands is priced as high as £1.33 per litre, in areas where public road or rail transport is virtually non-existent.

  • Digital TV and licensing

Despite massive publicity about the digital switchover, Freeview will not provide universal coverage within the UK. This situation is unjustified when everyone, irrespective of location, is legally required  to pay for a TV licence. The conclusion is that people in remote areas have paid for a digital TV service which is not being provided to them.

  • Broadband

There is no political will to provide the resources from central government to ensure that every location in the UK has access to a basic broadband service of at least 2mbps. Whilst funds, raised from general taxation, are made available to develop high-speed broadband for densely-populated areas, remoter communities are unfairly denied a basic service.
 

Why is this idea important?

The policy of centralisation pursued in the UK for many decades has resulted in severe discrimination against communities in the remoter parts of England, Scotland and Wales. People in these communities pay the same taxes (both direct and indirect) as those living in large towns and cities, yet they are frequently denied essential services because central government deems it too expensive to provide them.

This mentality prevails, even though remote areas unquestionably have a greater need for such services than city areas. Examples of such discrimination are:

  • Fuel pricing

EU regulations allow for a reduced rate of VAT to be applied on petrol and diesel in remote areas. Even though countries such as Finland apply this policy in relation to their remote island communities, the UK government has never adopted it. As a result, petrol on the Scottish islands is priced as high as £1.33 per litre, in areas where public road or rail transport is virtually non-existent.

  • Digital TV and licensing

Despite massive publicity about the digital switchover, Freeview will not provide universal coverage within the UK. This situation is unjustified when everyone, irrespective of location, is legally required  to pay for a TV licence. The conclusion is that people in remote areas have paid for a digital TV service which is not being provided to them.

  • Broadband

There is no political will to provide the resources from central government to ensure that every location in the UK has access to a basic broadband service of at least 2mbps. Whilst funds, raised from general taxation, are made available to develop high-speed broadband for densely-populated areas, remoter communities are unfairly denied a basic service.
 

TV Licence rolled into Council Tax

Let be realistic here – the vast majority of us have a television or radio or laptop.

Whether you watch / listen / read the BBC content on TV / Radio / BBC News Website is broadly irrelevant. You still benefit from the competition the BBC provides to other terrestrial broadcasters and SKY etc.

This comes in the form of enhanced content, training of talent, and downward pressure on advertising time, to name but a few.

The benefits of scrapping the individual TV license and making it a basic additional to council tax would simply be a reduction in, bureaucracy and costs. 

No one would ever again be prosecuted or taken to court on the basis of not paying their licence fee.

Why is this idea important?

Let be realistic here – the vast majority of us have a television or radio or laptop.

Whether you watch / listen / read the BBC content on TV / Radio / BBC News Website is broadly irrelevant. You still benefit from the competition the BBC provides to other terrestrial broadcasters and SKY etc.

This comes in the form of enhanced content, training of talent, and downward pressure on advertising time, to name but a few.

The benefits of scrapping the individual TV license and making it a basic additional to council tax would simply be a reduction in, bureaucracy and costs. 

No one would ever again be prosecuted or taken to court on the basis of not paying their licence fee.

Abolish the BBC Licence Tax

The BBC Licence is a TAX.  All income groups are required to fund the inflated salaries and lavish lifestyles of BBC Executives and 'stars.'

The BBC Licence TAX should be abolished.  The Government should fund a small public service broadcaster from general taxation – no more than 2 radio stations and 2 TV channels – and the rest of the BBC should be privatised.

Why is this idea important?

The BBC Licence is a TAX.  All income groups are required to fund the inflated salaries and lavish lifestyles of BBC Executives and 'stars.'

The BBC Licence TAX should be abolished.  The Government should fund a small public service broadcaster from general taxation – no more than 2 radio stations and 2 TV channels – and the rest of the BBC should be privatised.

Let people choose whether to subscribe to the BBC or not

Why should it be a criminal offence to own a TV but to choose not subsribe to the BBC?   Large sections of the BBC's output (particularly entertainment & sport) could just as easily be provided by Sky or another commercial provider.  No-body forces us to subscribe to Sky, so why are we compelled to subscribe to the BBC?    If the argument is that the BBC's is there to  "inform, educate and entertain," that may have been legitimate in an age before mass electronic communication, widespread internet access and decent levels of competition from the commercial sector, but surely the world is now completely different from Lord Reith's day?  Shouldn't the BBC bring itself up to date?    If the argument is that the BBC stands up for the public's right to be properly and indepedently informed about the activities of the politicians, business leaders and so on, that might be fair in a limited way but does that justify forcing people to subscribe to the BBC's entertainment and sports divisions at the same time?  Perhaps the licence fee could be dramatically reduced (eg to 20% of current levels, if that would pay for the News division), while the Entertainement and Sports divisions could be floated off into private companies (helping reduce the public deficit?).  We would then be free to choose whether or not to subscribe to these new private services.

Why is this idea important?

Why should it be a criminal offence to own a TV but to choose not subsribe to the BBC?   Large sections of the BBC's output (particularly entertainment & sport) could just as easily be provided by Sky or another commercial provider.  No-body forces us to subscribe to Sky, so why are we compelled to subscribe to the BBC?    If the argument is that the BBC's is there to  "inform, educate and entertain," that may have been legitimate in an age before mass electronic communication, widespread internet access and decent levels of competition from the commercial sector, but surely the world is now completely different from Lord Reith's day?  Shouldn't the BBC bring itself up to date?    If the argument is that the BBC stands up for the public's right to be properly and indepedently informed about the activities of the politicians, business leaders and so on, that might be fair in a limited way but does that justify forcing people to subscribe to the BBC's entertainment and sports divisions at the same time?  Perhaps the licence fee could be dramatically reduced (eg to 20% of current levels, if that would pay for the News division), while the Entertainement and Sports divisions could be floated off into private companies (helping reduce the public deficit?).  We would then be free to choose whether or not to subscribe to these new private services.

Unlicensed TV sets – use Penalty Charge Notices

 Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP

Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

6 July 2010

 

Dear Mr Clegg,

TV Licensing – change of enforcement procedure

As a magistrate, I would like to suggest a modest reform to the criminal justice system which would save public money and  free up valuable court time.

When TV Licensing detect people using an unlicensed TV set, they are currently brought to court. Almost none attend the court hearing, and their cases are routinely proved in absence in a procedure which wastes the time of everyone involved.

I would submit that people using unlicensed TV sets should be issued with an on-the-spot Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) by the TV Licensing officer who detects the offence. Those who fail to pay within the prescribed period would face similar enforcement action to those who fail to settle PCN parking fines. An Adjudicator could deal with any appeals, diverting the whole process away from the Adult Criminal Courts.

This would be quicker, cheaper, simpler and also less stressful for those defendants who have genuinely forgotten to renew their licence, or thought that someone else in the house had done it.

I hope you and the Justice Secretary will be able to take this idea on board and find Parliamentary time for implementing it — hopefully with all-party support.

With best regards

Yours sincerely

 

Alan Hayman JP

HMCS North-East Essex

              

Why is this idea important?

 Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP

Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

6 July 2010

 

Dear Mr Clegg,

TV Licensing – change of enforcement procedure

As a magistrate, I would like to suggest a modest reform to the criminal justice system which would save public money and  free up valuable court time.

When TV Licensing detect people using an unlicensed TV set, they are currently brought to court. Almost none attend the court hearing, and their cases are routinely proved in absence in a procedure which wastes the time of everyone involved.

I would submit that people using unlicensed TV sets should be issued with an on-the-spot Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) by the TV Licensing officer who detects the offence. Those who fail to pay within the prescribed period would face similar enforcement action to those who fail to settle PCN parking fines. An Adjudicator could deal with any appeals, diverting the whole process away from the Adult Criminal Courts.

This would be quicker, cheaper, simpler and also less stressful for those defendants who have genuinely forgotten to renew their licence, or thought that someone else in the house had done it.

I hope you and the Justice Secretary will be able to take this idea on board and find Parliamentary time for implementing it — hopefully with all-party support.

With best regards

Yours sincerely

 

Alan Hayman JP

HMCS North-East Essex

              

Half the TV license should go towards FTTP rollout

The BBC are paying celebrities millions of pounds for a show so i'm sure they can survive with a smaller amount of funding.

We need to upgrade to FTTP (Fibre to the Premises)!

Why is this idea important?

The BBC are paying celebrities millions of pounds for a show so i'm sure they can survive with a smaller amount of funding.

We need to upgrade to FTTP (Fibre to the Premises)!

Repeal the law requiring the purchase of a licence to own a TV set

A TV set is a passive piece of equipment and does not interfere with anything else.  It's a basic human right to be able to own and use personal property in one's own home, as long as it causes no harm to anyone else.  The government has no business legislating to interfere with that right.  The BBC should be funded from general taxation.

Why is this idea important?

A TV set is a passive piece of equipment and does not interfere with anything else.  It's a basic human right to be able to own and use personal property in one's own home, as long as it causes no harm to anyone else.  The government has no business legislating to interfere with that right.  The BBC should be funded from general taxation.

Remove the requirement to buy a TV licence.

The BBC should be paid for from normal taxation.   Collecting the TV licence is expensive, wasteful and inefficient.  We did away with dog licences and radio licences some time ago; we don't need a PC licence or a mobile phone licence …. why have a TV licence system?

Why is this idea important?

The BBC should be paid for from normal taxation.   Collecting the TV licence is expensive, wasteful and inefficient.  We did away with dog licences and radio licences some time ago; we don't need a PC licence or a mobile phone licence …. why have a TV licence system?

Housing, Benefits & Jobs

Having had the misfortune of being made redundant through ill health last November and also being made homeless for part of this year, I have had to hunt high and low for somewhere to live and it has been far from being easy!

The biggest problem with being unemployed, is the simple fact that a great many landlords do not accept DSS tenants. Look at most adverts for property that is available to rent and you will see the words NO DSS attached to the end of the advert. 

Having researched the problem myself, I have discovered that there is a serious level of discrimination towards those who are unfortunate enough to have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

Your government may be looking to cut benefits in order to reduce the national debt, but for someone like myself who is desperate to get back in to work and also done their damned hardest to get off the street, benefits are vital until new employment can be found. By councils delaying benefits or constantly messing people around, they are adding even more stress to what is already a difficult time.

Yes, the benefits system needs a re-think and yes, there are people who abuse it, but there are a hell of a lot of people who need it, that are struggling to survive! 

I am on Job Seekers Allowance of £65 per week. £7.65 per week  is deducted from that because I had no choice except to apply for a Social Fund Loan in order to be able to get the house I am now living in. This leaves me with just over £57 a week to survive on. Once I pay for electric, gas and food, I am left with virtually nothing. I do not own a television and even if I did, I would not be able to afford a licence! I have no car, and yet again if I did, I could not afford to run it! 

What I am asking is that the government start to look at the reasons why the people on DSS are struggling to find employment…. is it because of a lack of jobs? A lack of skills? There could be any number of reasons. 

In my particular case, I was made redundant through ill health last year, since making a recovery, I have applied for over 180 jobs since March this year. Out of the 180 jobs I have applied for, I have had exactly 8 letters telling me I was not suitable for the position or was not qualified enough and I have been asked to one (1) interview! The rest I have not heard anything from! So as a part of looking at the reasons why people are struggling to find employment, look at the jobs which are being advertised! 

I have been registered with Jobs Today, Monster and several other websites. Since registering, I have checked them daily and all I see is a repeat of the same adverts by the same companies with very little difference elsewhere. Many of these companies when you read their adverts often talk about career prospects within the company and how you can advance through the ranks. If this is the case, how come so many of the companies advertising these claims of fabulous career prospects are advertising elsewhere…why are they not promoting their current staff to the managerial jobs which dominate the Jobs website pages and replacing the staff who are promoted?

Why is this idea important?

Having had the misfortune of being made redundant through ill health last November and also being made homeless for part of this year, I have had to hunt high and low for somewhere to live and it has been far from being easy!

The biggest problem with being unemployed, is the simple fact that a great many landlords do not accept DSS tenants. Look at most adverts for property that is available to rent and you will see the words NO DSS attached to the end of the advert. 

Having researched the problem myself, I have discovered that there is a serious level of discrimination towards those who are unfortunate enough to have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

Your government may be looking to cut benefits in order to reduce the national debt, but for someone like myself who is desperate to get back in to work and also done their damned hardest to get off the street, benefits are vital until new employment can be found. By councils delaying benefits or constantly messing people around, they are adding even more stress to what is already a difficult time.

Yes, the benefits system needs a re-think and yes, there are people who abuse it, but there are a hell of a lot of people who need it, that are struggling to survive! 

I am on Job Seekers Allowance of £65 per week. £7.65 per week  is deducted from that because I had no choice except to apply for a Social Fund Loan in order to be able to get the house I am now living in. This leaves me with just over £57 a week to survive on. Once I pay for electric, gas and food, I am left with virtually nothing. I do not own a television and even if I did, I would not be able to afford a licence! I have no car, and yet again if I did, I could not afford to run it! 

What I am asking is that the government start to look at the reasons why the people on DSS are struggling to find employment…. is it because of a lack of jobs? A lack of skills? There could be any number of reasons. 

In my particular case, I was made redundant through ill health last year, since making a recovery, I have applied for over 180 jobs since March this year. Out of the 180 jobs I have applied for, I have had exactly 8 letters telling me I was not suitable for the position or was not qualified enough and I have been asked to one (1) interview! The rest I have not heard anything from! So as a part of looking at the reasons why people are struggling to find employment, look at the jobs which are being advertised! 

I have been registered with Jobs Today, Monster and several other websites. Since registering, I have checked them daily and all I see is a repeat of the same adverts by the same companies with very little difference elsewhere. Many of these companies when you read their adverts often talk about career prospects within the company and how you can advance through the ranks. If this is the case, how come so many of the companies advertising these claims of fabulous career prospects are advertising elsewhere…why are they not promoting their current staff to the managerial jobs which dominate the Jobs website pages and replacing the staff who are promoted?

Reduce Age at which TV licence is free & reduce the fee for all others

The age of 75 should be reduced.  I am only 40, and I know It's a disgrace that people over 65, retired, have to pay a licence fee.  What sort of a society takes from the elderly to line the pockets of weatly presenters and tv bosses. 

I also think it's too expensive for what it is, most of the money taken from fee payers is wasted on managers salaries and expenses, as well as presenters (who frankly aren't that talented or worthy of the amounts paid).  It should be reduced to a reasonable amount for everyone else.

 

Why is this idea important?

The age of 75 should be reduced.  I am only 40, and I know It's a disgrace that people over 65, retired, have to pay a licence fee.  What sort of a society takes from the elderly to line the pockets of weatly presenters and tv bosses. 

I also think it's too expensive for what it is, most of the money taken from fee payers is wasted on managers salaries and expenses, as well as presenters (who frankly aren't that talented or worthy of the amounts paid).  It should be reduced to a reasonable amount for everyone else.

 

Stop threatening letters from TV licensing

As a student, you probably know that every month you receive a letter from the TV licensing office threatening you with a law suit if you don't pay the TV license. This seems to me like a huge waste of money – if they stopped sending all these letters they'd probably have a lot more money to fund good TV, which in turn might make me want to watch one or even own one.

In student halls usually a dozens of letters are shoved through every letter box – isn't one enough?

Secondly when you phone up, they make it sound like it's impossible to not have a TV or watch TV on the computer. It isn't!

Why is this idea important?

As a student, you probably know that every month you receive a letter from the TV licensing office threatening you with a law suit if you don't pay the TV license. This seems to me like a huge waste of money – if they stopped sending all these letters they'd probably have a lot more money to fund good TV, which in turn might make me want to watch one or even own one.

In student halls usually a dozens of letters are shoved through every letter box – isn't one enough?

Secondly when you phone up, they make it sound like it's impossible to not have a TV or watch TV on the computer. It isn't!

Scrap The TV Licence

Allow the BBC to advertise and to determine their own future.  The poor and the pensioners could do with one less bill to worry about.

Surely, the government can't  be so mean that they cannot allow people who cannot afford to go out, or on holiday the only pleasure they have which is their TV.

It must take an army of people to impliment this both in distribution and policing of this policy.

Not only that, not many people watch the BBC anymore because what programs they put on are not very good quality.

The only good thing is the news, which again is very biased.

Why is this idea important?

Allow the BBC to advertise and to determine their own future.  The poor and the pensioners could do with one less bill to worry about.

Surely, the government can't  be so mean that they cannot allow people who cannot afford to go out, or on holiday the only pleasure they have which is their TV.

It must take an army of people to impliment this both in distribution and policing of this policy.

Not only that, not many people watch the BBC anymore because what programs they put on are not very good quality.

The only good thing is the news, which again is very biased.