House of Lords blocks attempt to decriminalise licence fee non-payment

House of Lords blocks attempt to decriminalise licence fee non-payment

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The House of Lords narrowly voted against the government's proposals to move in a direction which would decriminalise the non-payment of the licence fee.

The BBC believes that decriminalisation of licence fee non-payment could lead to costs of up to £²00m per year.

The review was set up by Culture Secretary, Sajid Javid in September 2014 to raise the question of whether non payment of the TV license should be a criminal offence.

There is now unlikely to be any movement on the issue until after the general election when the debate on BBC charter renewal will formally begin.

Peers voted 178 to 175 in favour of an amendment that was co-sponsored by former BBC Chairman Lord Grade to prevent any decriminalisation of license fee non-payment until 2017.

A decriminalisation of licence fee non-payment could lead to the BBC moving to a subscription based model as a gap in funding could be created.

By Alastair Ballantyne

@AJBally

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