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Government petition to have a referendum on the TV licence

in TV MoneySaving
17 replies 413 views


  • edited 9 June 2021 at 9:32AM
    CornucopiaCornucopia Forumite
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    edited 9 June 2021 at 9:32AM
    4justice2 said:
     This parliamentary "debate" (more like the BBC fan club) confirms why it's pointless waiting for MPs to act. Labour and LibDem tend to be fully behind the BBC. Tories have been at war with the BBC for years, but every time the chance for reform comes up, they do nothing. Look at how they backed down over decriminalising the licence fee recently.

    I think for me they (MPs) mostly completely missed the point.   

    The question of whether the BBC is "good and worthwhile" is the wrong question - of course some people think that it's good and worthwhile, and that is a subjective judgement - a matter of opinion.

    The appropriate questions IMHO are these: 

    1)  Is the BBC essential?  Does it provide an essential public service that cannot be found within commercial media, and that is so essential as to warrant special provision of public funds to replace or augment the commercial funding that typically supports media businesses? 

    2) Is the method of funding, and its enforcement the minimum necessary to support the essential elements of the BBC?   That's a question of taxation approach, value for money, the size and scale of the BBC, its commitment to, and prioritisation of public service aims, and of the appropriateness and lawfulness of its enforcement approach.    

    I would say that both of these are open questions, and in my opinion the answer to both questions is: no.   More specifically, I think that only the Public can say whether the BBC provides them an essential service, and they should be asked.   

    It has been a continual disappointment to me that in the very simplest of terms, MPs can look at a TV Licensing enforcement letter and call it acceptable.    It disappoints me that despite lengthy Select Committee sessions, MPs have not asked the basic questions about TV Licensing:   how is this supposed to work, and where is it justified in law?   They need tp ask them and ask them again until the BBC provides satisfactory answers, including a commitment to change.

    It's difficult to consider (the absence of) these questions, and not conclude that the relationship between the BBC and government is deeply unhealthy (way beyond what should be tolerated by either party).
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  • wild666wild666 Forumite
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    1/ It provides the same services as every other channel so NO!

    2/ Enforcement, especially the letters, are threats to fine people who do not pay. Some people still watch live as shown TV even though they don't pay as the chances of the person being caught watching live as shown TV are so remote it's worth the risk to them. 

    I have said on the licence resistance forum that some might have Sky TV but only watch the Sky channels and a few other commercial channels and see it as they pay for Sky so why should they pay the BBC £159 of something they won't ever watch! The petition is over 12,000 now and has months left to run so it could easily pass the 100,000 mark.
    Someone please tell me what money is
  • jon81ukjon81uk Forumite
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    1)  Is the BBC essential?  Does it provide an essential public service that cannot be found within commercial media, and that is so essential as to warrant special provision of public funds to replace or augment the commercial funding that typically supports media businesses? 

    I would say so yes it does provide several public services that no one else is willing to such as local news and very local radio. ITV probably want to get rid of the local news as soon as they can wriggle out of that responsibility. Commercial local radio has bascially disappaered, some stations might still offer a local programme such as breakfast but the majority of content is now national. Whereas BBC still offers a lot of real local live radio programmes.
  • edited 11 June 2021 at 4:55PM
    CornucopiaCornucopia Forumite
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    edited 11 June 2021 at 4:55PM
    Yes, local news is probably one of the few essential TV elements of the BBC.   I wonder whether it could ultimately be transferred to Channel 4 (who presumably already have regional play-out facilities for their advertising).   It could be accompanied by some Government funding, possibly on a transitional basis.  

    BBC TV would then be left unencumbered and could be moved on to commercial funding, whilst still being publicly-owned.   

    BBC Radio is going to require some Government support under that scenario, though it would be interesting to see whether it would be feasible to have a shared audio/video feed from the regional newsrooms on radio and TV at certain times of day.   As commercial media has retreated somewhat from truly regional radio, so the BBC has followed to an extent.    (Although, the BBC has also shot itself in the foot by employing some quite expensive celebrity presenters for its local radio).  
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  • 4justice24justice2 Forumite
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    Interesting comments here.
    Is the BBC a "public service"?
    Does it offer programmes that are different and distinct to commercial broadcasters? Does it offer programmes that commercial channels cannot, or will not make?
    Does it justify a compulsory "TV tax" to fund what have become lowbrow entertainment channels? (There seems far more outrage that medical soap "Holby City" has been cancelled then that all new programming on "distinctive" BBC4 has been stopped!).
    Looking at listings for BBC channels I'd have to say "no".
    I'm expecting my next flurry of harassment and hate mail from TV Licencing in about six months.........

  • edited 13 June 2021 at 6:19PM
    LambyrLambyr Forumite
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    edited 13 June 2021 at 6:19PM
    I don't watch the BBC (except for major sports events, like the Euros right now, or the Six Nations), and I honestly don't believe that £159 per year is remotely justified for a handful of rugby matches every year, and some football matches over the course of a month every couple of years. 

    While I have no doubt that there are many who feel the BBC offers fantastic value, I'm not one of them, and it annoys me that to watch live sport, I have to give them money even if I'm not watching BBC channels the overwhelming majority of the time. I'm not their target audience, after all. Their programmes that draw the highest viewing figures aren't things I'm interested in, and maybe they produce something more obscure that I'd like but as I watch almost all films and TV shows on-demand, I never hear about it - and I don't feel like I'm missing anything by not taking an active interest in what's on the Beeb. 

    My Fire TV watchlist is full of movies and shows already, I doubt I could watch them all if I became a couch potato for five straight years. Even my Sky subscription barely gets a look-in anymore, although I do watch a couple of movies a month on Sky Cinema on-demand, and I still watch Sky Sports.

    If people want to fund the BBC, that's great, let them. Freeview and Freesat present an issue with transferring entirely to a subscription-based setup, but perhaps they could figure out a commercial, ad-supported setup for those platforms, and offer a subscription service on other platforms and the web?

    Whatever they do, they shouldn't be allowed to continue demanding funding from those who want to watch live/broadcast TV, but don't want to make use of the BBC. And they definitely shouldn't be permitted to send threatening letters to non-licence fee payers who have followed the rules about informing them properly, or send "investigators" around to try and catch people in the act. I don't need to prove to anyone that I'm not committing crimes with the carving knives in my kitchen, or the axe in my garage. Why should anyone have to tolerate some random knocking on their door, asking for proof that the TV, streaming box, phone, PC, tablet or any other device that they might be able to use to watch broadcast TV isn't being used to watch broadcast TV?

    Sure, if it was the 1960s still and someone had a TV in their living room, safe bet they might be telling fibs about not needing a licence. But in the modern world, there are plenty of legitimate reasons to own several TVs without needing a licence, and harassing people who don't have a licence is completely unfair.
    She would always like to say,
    Why change the past when you can own this day?
  • JJ_EganJJ_Egan Forumite
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    Problem is as always in recent years .
    TV Radio Licence to receive broadcasts .( goes way back in time to the war years )
    Today its thought of as a BBC licence .

    Personally i pay it as i watch a lot of live broadcasts from many sources .
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