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Anti-TV Licensing petition gets May date for Parliament debate

Passes 100k mark and the MPs' sanity filter, unusually

The BBC TV Licensing fee is set to be debated in Parliament in early May after a public petition passed the 100,000 signature mark.

The petition calls for TV Licensing revenues to be deducted from "service providers" instead of being collected directly from households in the UK. At the time of writing it stands at 107,779 signatures.

Despite public dissatisfaction with Capita's operation of the outsourced BBC TV Licensing contract, the government maintains that it enjoys support from the majority.

"Throughout the Charter Review, the Government considered the question of funding the BBC's services, and decided that the licence fee system will be maintained for the coming Charter period," said the response to the petition on the Parliamentary website.

It added that some money from the TV Licence is diverted towards Welsh-language broadcaster S4C and to the nation's superfast broadband project, though those are drops in the ocean compared to the sums handed over to the BBC.

The debate will happen on 8 May before Parliament. All petitions that break the 100,000 signature barrier are considered for debate by a Parliamentary committee which has the ultimate power to decide whether or not a particular issue gets time in the chamber.

Current Culture Secretary Karen Bradley has said little publicly about the TV Licence since her appointment last summer, though she reportedly summoned BBC director general Tony Hall to explain why Capita's salesmen were being promised cash bonuses of £15,000 a year in return for finding 28 non-licence fee payers per week.

It is not a legal requirement to have a TV Licence in order to own a television. The £147 licence (which will increase from £145.50 in April) is only required for people watching live TV, including streaming, or those watching BBC iPlayer. ®

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