TV Licence Fee

I have to disagree about the BBC. The arguments against a TV licence are as follows. My answers follow the (numbered) quotes from the Facebook homepage.

1– Like the Poll Tax, the TV License takes no account of your ability to pay, nor how much (if any) of the service you use. It hits the lowest incomes hardest by percentage of income.

You could argue the same about food, drink, cleaning products, petrol, holidays, cars, trousers or virtually anything else. In fact, income tax is the ONLY thing that takes account of ability to pay. Everything else just costs what it costs. So the TV license fee follows the same pattern as 99.9999999% things in the universe. I don’t think this is a strong argument. Plus, as a percentage of income it’s fallen massively since the 50s. It’s now about 0.01% of average income, whereas it used to be about 0.07% – not a huge amount in either case, but definitely cheaper (in real terms) now. In fact, it costs slightly more than 38p per day. Crippling? I don’t think so!

2– When it started, there was only one use for a TV set, and only one broadcaster so a kitty type setup was fine, this has fragmented so much now that the BBC are a minority entertainment service that you can’t unsubscribe from.

Actually in the UK more people watch BBC programmes than any other channel. You may not like their programming in all cases (I don’t either) but that doesn’t mean your argument is correct. They’re not minority. They may not please everyone, but they have the largest share of audience, consistently, across all age and social groups. Fact.

3– The BBC forces itself onto the airways and we are required to pay for its upkeep regardless of whether or not we watch it. £139.50 is too much to pay for reality tv, vapid sitcoms and endless repeats.

Advertisers increase the cost of their products to pay for the adverts they show. The average cost of an Audi car, for instance, would fall by £7,000 if they did absolutely no marketing. You pay £7,000 per Audi, just for them to advertise to you. The same applies to everything you see advertised on TV. In 2000 the average ITV viewer paid more than £1000 per year in extra costs on products they saw advertised. Comparatively, the BBC is cheap! And vapid sitcoms? Yes. But also David Attenborough, The Office, BlackAdder, Fawlty Towers, Boys from the Blackstuff, Simon Schama, the best news channel in the world (without a doubt)… stuff you simply WOULD NOT see on a commercial channel. The BBC chase ratings, but they also produce masses of FANTASTIC material aimed at minorities who would otherwise be totally ignored.

4– At worst a service that you never use. We are forced to pay for a TV Licence, what ever happened to free choice?

True, that’s the strongest argument. But have you REALLY never watched ANYTHING on BBC, or listened to the radio? Do you ONLY watch ITV or Sky? I doubt it. And if you do, you’re missing out on Dr Who and Joolz Holland (to say the least).

5– This is a complete monopoly (For example, I am a avid sports fan, i pay my money to Virgin media and the only TV I watch is Setanta, Sky Sports and Eurosport. But the nice people at the BBC think its fair to force me to pay them for channels im not using)

Well, you only have yourself to blame. In 1980 all sport was shown for FREE as part of your license fee (which was about £60 back then). Now you pay about £40 PER MONTH on Sky, Setanta, etc – and extra for premiership games, top movies etc. If nobody had signed up for Sky, the BBC would still show everything you want. You VOLUNTEERED to pay £45 per month for something you were already getting for FREE. Is it the BBC’s fault that you made a stupid decision? No, it isn’t.

6– You wouldn’t pay £140 a year to tax a car that you dont use would you? (answer yes to this question and you are a moron and i will gladly let you pay my car tax)

I repeat, do you NEVER watch Dr Who, Extras or the news? Never? EVER?! And before you call us idiots, remember who’s volunteering to pay £40 a month for something the BBC used to give you for free.

7– Every other channel funds itself by advertising, so why cant the BBC do the same. They are already screwing us over by showing BBC programs on Dave and the UKTV Network. Where they recieve money from advertisements. They can’t have it both ways.

Why can’t they have it both ways? I mean, the government has prevented them from increasing the licence fee, so they raise the money they need commercially. Isn’t that what you argue for? OK, you may dislike the license fee in the first place, but it is INCREDIBLY cheap (38p per day), and provides 20+ TV channels, 50+ radio stations and the single best website in the world (it was voted best last year). If they didn’t sell old programmes to Dave, the cost of the license fee would rise to a terrifying 44p per day (ooh, how will we cope, 44p for about 250 hours of new programming every day!).

You should also consider this: advertising revenues on TV are plummeting. ITV lost 30% of its income over the last 5 years. If the BBC had to fund 250 hours of programming per day by ADVERTS, the few adverts there are would be spread thinner – especially as the BBC has the most popular channels. So the income of ALL TV would fall, and programmes would suffer enormously – not just the BBC, but everybody.

8– Im not saying get rid of the BBC, Just want them to fund themselves or allow us to opt out of their service.

I agree you should be able to opt out. But if you do, your radio, TV and Internet hardware would have to be amended to prevent you from accessing BBC content. And the cost of doing that would be prohibitively high. Can you imagine what you’d pay to have a thing fitted to your car to STOP you from getting BBC traffic news? Or what you’d pay to STOP your TV, digibox, Sky receiver, walkman, PC and every other device from getting Radio 1? It would be massively expensive. So yes, opting out is a good idea, but utterly impractical. Similarly, I’d like to opt out of paying towards the Iraq war by having my taxes cut. But it’s never going to happen, is it?

9– Why not have a system like PBS, where the rich and famous provide donations or a system that allows those on a lesser income to pay less? (can be done by the individuals tax code/band) – I am sure the likes of Beckham, Bono, Elton John to name a few, have got money to throw around. How about they contribute to the devices that got them their money in the first place?

So your argument is that you don’t like paying for TV, so you’d like someone else to pay your share instead? And the richest people are mostly city traders – how does the BBC make them rich, exactly? It’s just not a proper solution. And the poor pay less? Yes, I agree – but it is 38p per day, as I mentioned. That’s less than the cost of a Twix. How poor do you have to be before the “lower” threshold hits? So poor you can’t afford a Twix? Seems a bit extreme.

I can see why people dislike paying a license fee, but absolutely none of the arguments against it take into account what the costs of abolition would be.

Frankly if you want to save money, start pushing for government to abolish ALL taxation except income tax. Income tax is the only truly fair tax, but it’s been slashed (to make tax look low) while other unfair tax has been increased. Scrap road fund license, TV license, VAT and all other taxes, and increase income tax by 5%. It would be a fair reflection of people’s ability to pay, and nobody would moan about paying for the BBC any more.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply