Published On: Fri, Sep 15th, 2023
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BBC TV licence: Petition to abolish the fee to get response from parliament | Personal Finance | Finance

A petition to abolish the has surpassed 10,000 signatures, which means it will now trigger a Government response.

Garnering support from more than 14,000 supporters with just two days remaining before the deadline, petitioners have expressed their opposition towards the “outdated” charge that sets people back £159 a year.

Christian James Riley-Rowlands, who launched the petition, wrote: “We want the Government to abolish TV Licence fees for everyone. We believe this is an outdated and unwanted system that can put people into debt.”

At present, households need a TV licence if they want to watch or record TV programmes live as they’re broadcast. This includes all programmes on any channel, from soaps and series to documentaries and movies, as well as content streamed through iPlayer.

The licence was introduced in 1946 and enforcement of the ever-increasing fee has long been a subject of debate.

Jeff Richey, TV and film analyst at, commented: “It’s no surprise the 10,000-signature goal was met so quickly, given the depth of feeling about the BBC licence fee.

“The clock is ticking for the charge, as growing numbers of Britons question the fairness and logic of paying money to a TV station in the era of on-demand streaming services. Even a former BBC chairman has labelled the fee ‘regressive’ and called for it to be means-tested.”

With household budgets stretched thin, Mr Richey said: “Many people are sacrificing luxuries to ensure they can make ends meet.

“It’s understandable that the thought of having to pay for a TV licence — set to increase to £170 next April — leaves a bitter taste.

“The fee is set to be scrapped in 2027 but it’s unclear what the BBC will replace it with, and some ideas like a broadband tax run the risk of being even more unpopular than the current system.”

After a petition reaches 10,000 responses, the Government are inclined to provide a response.

Households are increasingly opting for streaming services to avoid the £159 fee. Services such as Netflix and Disney+, as well as catch-up TV (not including BBC iPlayer) do not need a licence to watch.

The shift has seen millions more households hit with enforcement letters in the last financial year – an increase of around six percent since 2020.

The stats, reported by the Telegraph, show the BBC sent 36,166,582 letters between 2022 and 2023, up just over one percent from the year before.

The funds generated by the TV licence fee supports the creation of BBC programmes and services and those who watch TV live – as well as those who stream BBC iPlayer – must pay.

Mr Richey added the firm can “no longer bury its head in the sand”. He said: “The corporation must heed these calls for change now, or risk tarnishing its legacy and encouraging a new generation of licence fee refuseniks

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