With more than 27,000 people between the ages of 18 and 25 caught watching or recording live TV without a licence over the past 12 months it is clear that the sooner we move to scrap the licence fee the better.
Many 18 to 25-year-olds are in full time education and living away from home in university or student accommodation. Students who live together but hold separate tenancy agreements must each pay £145.50 if they want to watch TV in their own rooms and many, who only watch catch-up services, are badgered by endless threatening letters by the Licensing Authority with threats of fines of up to £1,000.
The concept of TV licensing is outdated and firmly belongs in a pre-digital era when the BBC held a dominant market share. A report by the Broadcasters Audience Research Board revealed that commercial TV broadcasters achieved a market share of 67.7% in 2013 with BBC channels reporting a long term decline.
Whilst I welcome moves for TV licence evasion to become a civil, rather than a criminal matter, it is high time that the £145.50 fee was scrapped altogether and the BBC made to pay their own way.
UKIP North West MEP