AIDEEN SHEEHAN CONSUMER CORRESPONDENT – 17 JULY 2013
The new universal charge will be collected in a way that tackles the current very high evasion rates of the TV licence fee – suggesting the payment mechanism could be modelled on the new property tax.
Currently nearly one in five households does not pay the TV licence fee and this is costing the government €30m a year in lost revenue.
Announcing major changes to the way public service broadcasting is funded Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte today gave a commitment the new charge will not exceed the current €160 a year licence fee.
A public consultation into how the charge will operate will be launched shortly and Mr Rabbitte said ideally he would like to see it introduced by late 2014.
There would be no excuse for not paying the charge, and the only exceptions would be for those currently exempt from the TV licence fee such as households in receipt of the household benefits package.
Mr Rabbitte said that he simply did not believe there were any households who could claim to have no access to public service broadcasting whether via television, radio or the RTE website on phones and computers.
“It’s not some of us should pay for, all of us should pay for it, we should not have freeloaders,” he said.
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