Torquay resident Caroline Lévesque started a petition at the beginning of the month in order to push for a parliamentary debate on the TV licence fee and to her amazement the petition has now gathered 125,000 signatures in just over 2 weeks, only from word of mouth.
Caroline said: If you crunch the numbers, last week alone, we gathered an average of 3,000 signatures a day,considering that (for most people) there are about 12 active hours in a day, that’s 250 signatures per hour or more than 4 new signatures very minute.
There are many reasons to be upset about the UK government forcing TV viewers to pay£145.50 a year, to one private broadcaster, in order to access other free TV channels.
Many people stated that they don’t want to watch the BBC or that they simply can’t
afford it. Personally,said Caroline ‘I think its daylight robbery’.
People are left with only 3 choices: a) pay 12 pounds a month to finance the BBC
b) don’t pay it and risk to get a £1,000 fine or
c) don’t watch live TV at all and get repetitive harassing letters from Capita (who chase these “offenses” for the BBC).
Somehow, it’s doesn’t feel right to ask people earning less than £300 a week, students, single parent families, retirees under 75 with a small income and people on benefits, to pay the same amount as, say, millionaires. `People are made to feel like TV is a luxury when it’s not. It’s a convenient way to keep society together and a good educational tool as well, and as such, it should really be free.
Caroline said ‘More worryingly, this “crime” (astonishingly, TV licence evasion is a crime) and is affecting women the most. I found statistics showing this. (TV Licence Enforcement Review, 2015) 68% women 32% men
It feels odd to ask 100% of the TV viewers to pay a tax when statistics show that the BBC gets only a 1/3 share of Television audiences. Given the number of channels now available to those who choose to take pay for TV, the BBC no longer commands the monopoly it once did, but still gets a huge almost-no-questions-asked fund due to its unique status. If this is weighed up against the amount of revenue each company has to produce programming and win viewers the remaining terrestrial channels are really ‘punching above their weight’.
• the BBC has a total income of £5,066 million of which £3,726 million from licence fees.
• Itv has a total external revenue of £2,590 million
• Channel 4’s total revenue is £908 million
• UKTV (owning Dave, yesterday, etc) has £265 million in revenue.
Caroline continued ‘since this petition has been started locally, we’ve already had 740 people with a TQ post code signed it’,which is brilliant.
Do you agree with Caroline? If so click the link below to sign the petition https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/end-the-bbc-licence-fee