Thousands of Scots are fined for TV licence breach
MORE than 13,500 people in Scotland have been found guilty of not paying their TV licence over the past year, figures have revealed – with those living in Glasgow the most likely to offend.
Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act showed that a total of 13,486 people Scotland-wide have been fined out of court under the Communications Act 2003, while a further 28 have been found guilty of breaching the act in court.
The vast majority of TV licence evasion cases in Scotland are fined in an out-of-court disposal, with only cases which have escalated taken to the sheriff court.
More than 3,404 fines were issued in Glasgow, while the next highest number of offences were committed by TV licensing evaders living in North Lanarkshire. Fines for TV licence evasion can be as high as £1,000, but as they are based on the evader’s income, the average fine is believed to be closer to £170.
The figures were obtained by anti-licence fee campaigner Caroline Levesque-bartlett, who has gathered more than 163,000 signatures on an online petition aimed at ending the licence fee.
She said: “It’s not fair that people are being prosecuted for not paying something unfair. The whole TV licence fee is a burden to the poor in the first place. It’s hard to justify forcing the whole country to subsidise a broadcaster, using criminal sanctions.”
A TV Licensing spokeswoman said cases are sent to the procurator fiscal as a last resort. She said: “We know some people may find it difficult to pay but we do all we can to help, including offering weekly cash payment schemes. ”