The BBC Trust, the BBC’s governing body, is launching a review into the way the corporation’s licence fee is collected. The Trust will look at how to reduce the number of people evading the licence fee as well as examine complaints that its marketing and collection tactics are too aggressive.
The compulsory tax is payable by everyone who owns a television or any other device that allows them to watch or record programmes and brings in £3.4bn a year. The BBC took over responsibility for the collection of the licence fee in 1991, reducing the evasion rate from 12.9% to 5.1%.
A consultation is expected to launch today (September 8) and will involve collecting views from the public as well as BBC management and TV licensing agencies, with a decision expected in the spring.
The public consultation will ask whether “the tone of the marketing and advertising about the TV licence is appropriate” among other questions.
The Government last year guaranteed the licence fee until 2013 but broke the link with inflation, pegging increases on a sliding scale until then. By 2013, it will cost £151 a year.