The Scotsman

BBC should look out­side fee says Sergeant

- By SHERNA NOAH United Kingdom · John Sergeant

Ex-BBC cor­re­spon­dent John Sergeant has said non-pay­ment of the li­cence fee should be de­crim­i­nalised.

He said the an­nual £157.50 li­cence fee should be frozen and the BBC should be “forced” to earn more by other means.

His com­ments come as the UK gov­ern­ment is set to an­nounce its re­sponse to a con­sul­ta­tion on de­crim­i­nal­is­ing li­cence fee eva­sion. The BBC has warned that switch­ing to a civil sys­tem would cost the broadcaste­r more than £200 mil­lion a year. Sergeant wrote in Ra­dio Times magazine: “De­spite the likely loss in rev­enue, the BBC should also ac­cept that fail­ing to pay the li­cence fee is no longer a crim­i­nal of­fence.”

A con­sul­ta­tion has eval­u­ated whether crim­i­nal sanc­tions for then on­pay­ment of the li­cence fee should be re­placed.

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