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British Ministers back no criminal offence for TV Licence evasion

The Unhived Mind

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  • Mar 24, 2014
  • theunhivedmind

    21 March 2014 Last updated at 17:17 Share this pageEmailPrint

    Ministers back TV licence fee powers change

    Ministers have backed plans that would give them powers to make non-payment of the TV licence fee a civil rather than criminal offence, the BBC understands.

    A Conservative MP proposed immediate decriminalisation – but ministers are backing a revised amendment giving them power to make the change in the future.

    The amendment also proposes a review of penalties for non-payment, which must be completed within 15 months.

    The BBC says decriminalisation could cost it £200m through greater evasion.

    A TV licence, which is required if a user watches or records live broadcasts on any device in the UK, costs £145.50 per year.

    Those who refuse to pay face a £1,000 fine and a criminal record, as well as the prospect of jail if fines are not paid.

    A senior Downing Street source said Tory MP Andrew Bridgen, who tabled a proposal in the House of Commons to decriminalise non-payment, had “genuinely changed government thinking on the matter”.

    Mr Bridgen’s original proposal – which was among amendments to the Deregulation Bill going through Parliament – aimed at forcing a vote on immediate decriminalisation. It was signed by 150 MPs.

    Two-year power

    Mr Bridgen has now tabled a revised proposal calling for a review of the “appropriate” sanctions for non-payment of TV licences. The review would have to be completed within 15 months of the Deregulation Bill being passed.

    His amendments would also give ministers power under “statutory instrument” – meaning no further Act of Parliament was needed – to “replace the TV licensing offences with civil monetary penalties”.

    This power could be used only during a two-year period, starting from the completion of the proposed review. After that it would require approval by both Houses of Parliament.

    The revised proposal will be considered at a parliamentary committee meeting on Tuesday.

    A BBC spokeswoman said: “The BBC is content that this proposal balances a timely examination of this issue with a proper review of the options, while not taking any decisions prior to charter review.”

    The BBC’s royal charter, which sets out the corporation’s purposes and the way it is run, is reviewed every 10 years and the current one runs until the end of 2016.

    The BBC Trust – which is the governing body of the BBC – said the licence fee issue should be “discussed in the round”, taking account of the possible effect on BBC output.

    It said any decisions should be made “as part of the charter review process”.

    “This amendment appears to be in line with that,” it said.

    Earlier this month, the corporation’s strategy director, James Purnell, warned BBC channels could close if non-payment of the licence fee was decriminalised.

    He said it would be a “huge risk” which would increase non-payment and cost the BBC £200m a year in lost licence fee revenue.

    The sum is the equivalent to the costs of BBC Four, CBBC and CBeebies, which would have to be taken off air, he said.

    His comments followed a decision to make BBC Three an online-only channel as part of ongoing cost-cutting measures.

    On Friday, Mr Purnell said: “We do some research quite regularly and one of the things that people know is that at the moment it [non-payment of the licence fee] is a criminal offence and that does seem to be a deterrent. So we want something that is just as effective in future.”

    He said it could be “the current system under the amendment that has gone down”, a civil system or a completely different system looked at in the context of charter review.

    Culture Secretary Maria Miller has previously said “decriminalisation of the licence fee should be on the table” during the charter review.

    With TV licensing cases accounting for 180,000 – or more than one in 10 – criminal prosecutions in 2012, decriminalisation could ease pressure on the courts system, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has said.

    Of those prosecuted in 2012, about 155,000 people were convicted and fined for non-payment

    theunhivedmind says:

    March 24, 2014 at 6:22 am

    Do not be frightened by the scaremongering in these news articles that hundreds of thousands get caught and in the courts each year. Very few actually go to court and if you do not answer a door to these criminals and do not give a name and jurisdiction to these thugs then they have zero case against you. I believe the real reason this TV Licence is being changed now is because of how Tony Rooke defeated the BBC in Court challenging them as being terrorists with foreknowledge of the script on 9/11 evidenced on the prior knowledge of the collapse of World Trade Center 7 reported 20+ minutes before the actual event. An event claimed to be natural and happening through fire which is to a sane being is ludicrous, it was a controlled demolition the same as the Twin Towers. I also believe that the establishment are aware we all know about this TV Licensing scam and our Common Law rights as English people on the land. When we fight back they get weak so control the truth fight and watch the lies crumble.

    -= The Unhived Mind

    UK Man Wins Court Case Against BBC For 9-11 WTC 7 Cover Up

    UK Man Wins Court Case Against BBC For 9-11 WTC 7 Cover Up


    UK Man Wins Court Case Against BBC For 9-11 WTC 7 Cover Up

    By wmw_admin on September 23, 2013

    Before It’s News — Sept 19, 2013

    Tony Rooke refused to pay a TV license fee because the BBC intentionally misrepresented facts about the 9/11 attacks, he alleged. It is widely known that the BBC reported the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 over 20 minutes before it occurred. WTC 7 was a 47-story skyscraper that was not hit by a plane on 9/11 but collapsed at free-fall speed later that day.

    So Rooke said the BBC had to have had prior knowledge to a terror attack making them complicit in the attack. He presented the BBC footage to the judge along with a slew of other evidence, and the judge agreed that Rooke had a reasonable case to protest. Rooke was found not guilty and he was not fined for failure to pay the licensing fee.

    For all intents and purposes a UK court has just ruled that the BBC was complicit in the September 11th, 2001 attacks in the United States. Fantastic. A small victory but a huge symbolic victory and one you would have never otherwised have heard of. So I suggest to you the reader to get the word out on this one. Spread it far and wide. This is big if only symbolic. -Mort